Jacob Duncan is a saxophonist and composer.
Jacob Duncan’s musical path has been a fascinating one, consistently balancing a
spiritual, intuitive inclination with a keen, educated intelligence; his ensemble playing is
every bit as assured and sympathetic as his soloing is consistently risking and rewarding.
Beginning on the alto sax at the age of eleven, he soon distinguished himself as the kid
who could play. He graduated from the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy…
played lead alto in the Yamaha Big Band while in high school, and won a music
scholarship to the University of North Texas in Denton, where he was a member of Little
Jack Melody and his Young Turks & the world-renowned One O’Clock Lab Band.
After graduation and reading way too much beat literature, Duncan flew to Lisbon on a
one-way ticket with alto in tow, five hundred dollars, and very little else. Playing on street
corners, French jazz clubs, hanging with musicians, hitchhiking or enjoying a peripatetic
existence based upon the proverbial “kindness of strangers,” he survived and thrived in
On returning to the States, the siren call of New York got the better of him and he settled
there for a time; a day gig at a coffee house kept him afloat while he played countless
sessions, gigged endlessly at Nimrod’s and the Knitting Factory, and reassembled
Liberation Prophecy as a sextet. Eventually frustrated by stress, rehearsal conflicts, and
a consistent diet of Ramen noodles and bad poetry, a cruise ship tour of duty seemed
like a solution.
Duncan traveled far and wide, from Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands…… to Ushuaia,
Argentina (Tierra Del Fuego)…..
to Southeast Asia—Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore………..to
Milford Sound, Dunedin, ChristChurch, Wellington (Hi Vaughn), and Auckland New
Jacob continues to make music with many creative musicians, and many artists from the
visual, movement, and writing art forms.
As Tony Augarde states “Swaggering, yet sensitive…”, and that he is. Duncan is one of
the most eclectic composers, musicians, and improvisors to emerge as of late. He is the
Mark Twain of improvisation and composition. Always a story to tell. Duncan has played
or recorded with artists from Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Debbie Boone, The Louisville
Orchestra to the Violent Femmes, Will Oldham, and Ben Sollee. Louisville has a thriving
arts scene with many people that are invested in the continuity of human expression.