If trumpeter Eric Jacobson's name doesn't ring a bell, it could be because he is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or any other jazz mecca. What's more, Jacobson has not recorded often; Discover is only his second date as leader or co-leader. Hindrances aside, Jacobson's is a name with which one should become familiar, as he is an excellent trumpeter and composer, and Discover is splendid from start to finish.
Capable as he is, Jacobson could not have produced such a first-class album on his own. He is aided and abetted by a quartet of blue-chip sidemen—tenor saxophonist Geof Bradfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer George Fludas—each of whom is a master of his instrument. Together, they make sure the listener's interest never wanes, regardless of tone or tempo.
Jacobson wrote half of the album's eight numbers, which complement a pair of standards ("I Hear a Rhapsody," "Old Folks") and jazz evergreens by Blue Mitchell ("Sir John") and Dizzy Gillespie ("Con Alma"). Stylistically, it is clear from the outset (on his original "New Combinations") that Jacobson has listened to and learned from such luminaries as Clifford Brown and Conte Candoli, among others, as he has blended some of their mannerisms into his own singular design.
Bradfield is an impressive soloist as well, while the veteran Barth needs no endorsement as his excellence speaks for itself. Carroll and Fludas lend depth to the enterprise while sharpening its strong rhythmic pulse. They are present on all but the last number, "Old Folks," a handsome duet by Jacobson and Barth. Besides "New Combinations," Jacobson wrote the silken "Discovery," intricate "The Unknown" and well-grooved "One Way."
While it is impossible to presume where Jacobson may go from here, he has surely enhanced his profile via Discover, wherein he affirms that his name is worth knowing and remembering.