top of page

Jacob Collier and The Aeolians, The Epiphany of "World O World."




So...if we are aware of the possibilities and are open to receiving them, there are LOTS of epiphany-level opportunities to be had by all of us on a daily basis. How do I know this? Well, probably because I am always looking for them. I NEED them to fuel my life, and I am addicted to them like some kind of hard core drug! (I never did serious drugs back in the day, BTW...I knew that I would be addicted to them and I also knew that I didn't have any money...so I stayed away from that whole scene, even though it was readily available in the crowds that I ran with. Fortuitous, forthright, and brave or simply practical? ...but I digress...) Yesterday, however, I was given the gift of a major epiphany and it came dressed in hipster PJs an amazing technicolor dream coat and topped off with a furry teddy bear hat. ...And its name was Jacob Collier.


Jacob has very rightly–I believe–been called “The Mozart of Gen Z.” I’ll go a giant step further, I feel that Jacob Collier is Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Copland, Stravinsky, Bob Brookmeyer, Gil Evans, John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, Martin Scorsesse, Samuel Barber, Led Zeppelin, Lenny Bernstein, and Nadia Boulanger all rolled up into one blazing comet of pure creativity. AND HE IS ONLY 29 YEARS OLD! Why is that sentence in all-caps and neon-green font? Because I pray that his age means that we get MANY more decades of Collierian magic from him!


When I listen to Jacob’s music, it seems that he is playing in a sandbox, and the sand is made up of everything that music is capable of being. In this compositional playpen, all Collier has to do is pick up a handful of tonality, shape it into a cone, slap it onto a delightfully complex separate sand structure of melody and colors and create an impossibly beautiful musical sand castle of sonic art that somehow makes perfect sense. Of course underlying this seeming Voodoo is his profound understanding of music theory at every level coupled with the rare talent of being able to realize everything that he hears. At the end of the day, Jacob can relate to you all the music theory behind everything that he does in great detail (on a level that would make Herbie Hancock and Vincent Persichetti make the Scooby Doo “Huh” sound) but he can also improvise everything on a truly organic and intuitive level. And on top of all this, Jacob is already demonstrating that most profound and fertile of all characteristics found in people of greatness: the inner need to constantly reinvent himself and move forward. This is beyond rare, it is a GIFT and a BLESSING. In describing Jacob, I will once again borrow from and paraphrase the great Arthur C. Clarke:


–“Talent, when sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.”


And now back to my epiphany… Being such a fan of Jacob Collier’s music and persona as I am, I was already aware of and in love with his current body of work. However, it must be distinctly understood that while I am aware of this Jacobian library, delighted and inspired by it… I have yet to actually understand it. And in the truest sense of the art, I believe that one does NOT need to understand it to enjoy it…but as a composer, I want to, and eventually, I will (so I can steal it for my own stuff :) Be that as it may… In all of Jacob’s work, I had never heard him write something for a choir of “not Jacobs” AKA a working ensemble of singers that are used to the modern canon of vocal music. I didn’t even know that was something that he was interested in. But BAM! Yesterday as I was enjoying some of the videos from his new release “Djesse, Volume 4” I came upon a piece titled “World O World.” And GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY! Here came an epiphany-DELUXE! To date, I have listened to this piece perhaps ten or twelve times (ok...maybe 50) and am receiving the most sustained chills that I have EVER felt from ANY type of music, WOW! Give this masterwork a listen: (the chord that he chose at 3:53 blows me away…BRILLIANT! And the ENDING? Mahler would have been proud with the multiple climactic moments!!)





The group by the way that delivers this powerful and emotional performance is the award-winning Aeolians of Oakwood University, an amazing group with a profound tradition that goes back to 1948. Look them up! They are very worthy of all the support that we in the arts community can give them.


And what is the epiphany? The lesson and the emotional boost that I personally received from hearing this piece is the realization that all of us as artists can also strive for the level that Jacob is accomplishing. He is pushing himself with everything that he does. Of course, it takes a talent-gift on a level that is metaphysical, numinous, and divine to achieve exactly what Jacob is doing. And it also takes hours and hours of hard work at an exponential level along with a serious determination and infinite follow-through to actually do it, therefore only a very few will actually hit that particular summit…but ALL of us can push ourselves to not just accept the “status quo” of our art. We can ALL strive to not just be our “best” but to instead be lifelong daily students of the art and learn from everyone how to be better, and how to move ever onwards and progress towards the divine.


DAYUM! Ok...I’m off to the shed (practice room, composition HQ) Enjoy your epiphanies everyone! (they're out there... Ya just gotta go find ‘em!)


64 views2 comments

2 Comments


Jim Lutz
Jim Lutz
Mar 23

Simply amazing!!!

Like
Steve Wiest
Steve Wiest
Mar 23
Replying to

VERY well said👍🏻🤠 In two words you succinctly said what took me an entire blog post to say! In essence, you were Lincoln to my Everett🤪


That being said, this piece is STILL giving me sustained chills. Especially at 3:53😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳


Imma find a score for this one and study the HELLOUDUVIT! I want to learn all of those ultra-hip Collierian moves!

Like
bottom of page