The song ‘Djesse’ from Djesse Vol. 1, was dedicated to the spirit of play. And play he did. The piano (inside and out), the double bass, the guitar, drums and then the audience. The gig seemed to be dedicated to Jacob Collier’s endless fascination with music and his enormous generosity in sharing and giving it to others. There was so much bursting out of him that he had to make the whole room musical.
It was also a promotion of the first volume of a series of four ‘Djesse’ albums. The Grammy Award winning composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist genius had been busy indeed. He describes them all as different musical universes. The first volume explores big spaces, orchestral music and involves the Metropole Orkest. The second is for more acoustic, gentle songs. The third he described as ‘freaky’ with lots of ideas and no spaces and the last an explosion of all three.
His last tour was a ‘one man band’ affair and this time, his band Robin Mullarkey, Christian Euman and Maro from Portugal supported him but did not lighten the load onstage. He still leapt around from one instrument to the next as if he were competing in a race with the others and always got there first. This kind of showmanship was accompanied by a new phenomenon. Tall lights which responded to sound.
In the midst of all this he still remained humble. The casual encore of ‘In My Room’ from the first album, saw him take out a melodica, perch on the edge of the stage and create a feeling that everyone was invited into that room. The whole audience spontaneously sat down with him.
An expert in creating harmonies which blew the head and heart wide open, he played Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ on the piano in a way that you could actually see the fields and their colours. Complicated rhythms, textures and layers created moments that stopped time. He played an unexpected and bassy version of ‘Close to You’ by the Carpenters and got the audience to work hard at ‘Blackbird’.
He made sure that the listener was as involved and as creative as they could be. A Jacob Collier event is not for the passive.