Pim Jacobs came from a talented Dutch musical dynasty, his mother and father both involved in the arts for a profession and hobby, respectively, and his brother Ruud Jacobs a double threat on bass and tenor sax. Born Willem Bernard Jacobs, the boy who would be Pim was only six when he began seizing territory on his father's piano bench. While there were gaps in the pianist's youthful studies, he eventually triumphed in a jazz competition and made performing and composing his life. Jacobs started his first piano trio in 1954, heavily influenced by the solid, introspective styles of American keyboard masters such as Bud Powell and Bill Evans. Typically for the Dutch jazz scene, opportunities arose for the pianist to head up rhythm sections backing visiting stars from the States. Jacobs has been associated with Dutch tours involving reed players Stan Getz, Lucky Thompson, and Tony Scott. One of Jacobs' earliest recordings took place when the Wessel Ilcken trio backed hairy-chested flute maestro Herbie Mann in 1956.Subsequently, Jacobs began performing regularly with his wife, vocalist Rita Reys, their typical program featuring arrangements of vocal music standards as well as bebop material. Jacobs also crafted scores for both narrative and documentary films. He hosted and presented a television series, Music for All, in which Dutch and international performers regularly collaborate. In the '70s and '80s Jacobs was well-known for presenting special concerts in the Dutch school system. The Pim Jacobs Theatre in Maarssen was named in his honor. The dynasty continues: nephew Bobby Jacobs is one of the newer additions to Dutch rock veterans Focus.
By Eugene Chadbourne