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Born and raised in India, Jacob William has arrived via rare routes to play on the vast fields of Jazz and other creatively improvised and composed musics. Jacob grew-up in a syncretic milieu; attended parochial school and traveled extensively from a very young age. His earliest years in music were spent singing in choirs and being engaged in informal learning of a wide array of diverse hybrid musics and various instruments. In his teens, Jacob started playing the bass guitar and soon began playing concerts and festivals all over India in the company of many forward looking elder musicians who had a particularly deep interest in Jazz. Jacob moved to the U.S. in 1991 after receiving a scholarship to study music.
In 2001, Jacob received a Master of Arts in music from Wesleyan University, where, his studies and work combined ethnomusicology, world-music and experimental composition under the guidance of Anthony Braxton, Neely Bruce, and Alvin Lucier. In the realm of world-music, he also studied South-Indian vocal music with T. Viswanathan and percussion music with Ramanad Raghavan and David Nelson. During 1998-1999, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music and studied in the department of Third Stream Music / Contemporary Improvisation under Ran Blake and studied the Bass under Cecil McBee and John Lockwood. From Berklee College of music, he earned a Bachelor of music degree in 1997, after studying Composition and Arranging while concentrating on jazz performance. During this time, he also participated in Kenny Werner and Bob Brookmeyer master classes in composition and improvisation. And, he privately studied jazz improvisation with John Laporta, Hal Crook and Charlie Banacos.
As an Improviser, Composer and Electric/Acoustic Bass Guitar and Double Bass player, Jacob has contributed to over 20 recordings; some of which have been released on labels such as Warner, Intuition, Magnasound, among others. In 2009, Jacob's Quartet recording titled Secondary Deviations was released internationally by Swedish record label Ayler. In 2010, Jacob recorded the music of his Para Quintet and Trio; both collaborative efforts invloving Drummer Laurence Cook, Trumpeter Forbes Graham, Drummer Luther Gray, Alto Saxophonist Jim Hobbs and Pianist Steve Lantner. Jacob has also started newer partnerships with Alto Saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra, Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis and with Pianist Eric Zinman - Citizens Orchestra.
Jacob has worked with a diverse range of renowned personalities in Jazz and World-Music arenas, such as, Abraham K. Adzenyah, Anthony Braxton, Maynard Ferguson, Joe Hunt, Jay Hoggard, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Charlie Mariano, Gustavo Ovalles, Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe, Omar Sosa, T. Viswanathan, among many others. And, he frequently appears in concert halls, festivals, clubs, studios and other venues around the world.
He has also appeared on Indian National Television and Radio DRS (Zurich). Jacob was also founding member of the group J.E.R.M. with which, between 1998 and 2003 he recorded and toured in the US and Europe.
Jacob has composed for a variety of instrumental, vocal and electronic forces and for groups ranging from Jazz combos, Theater and New Music Ensembles including, Memories/Ruminations a ninety-minute piece for eighteen assorted instrumentalists. Also, interested in exploring the intersections of computer aided real-time interactive improvisation and composition, he is currently researching programming / programmable environments.
Jacob has also been involved in introducing music composition to children and youth using open-ended software tools as part of a collaborative initiative between SETC and MIT scientists and educators who are designing, developing, and deploying new and emergent technologies to significantly impact broad ranging learning processes.
Jacob has taught Improvisation and Composition on the campuses of Williams College, Bennington College and was a Graduate teaching assistant at Wesleyan University. He has also demonstrated and lectured on how to deploy current technologies to enable learning of music in several places, including University of Iowa.
Jacob is currently on the faculty of Bridgewater State University.