Paul Jacobs is 31. He is chair of a department at the Juilliard School in New York. He is one of the most important soloists in his field. If that field were violin, he would fill the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater when he comes to Washington.
Jacobs, however, plays the organ, which has a more specific appeal. Therefore, St. Ann's Catholic Church on Wisconsin Avenue was far from sold out for his recital Sunday afternoon -- which meant that some people missed a really terrific concert.
Smooth, sinuous, flowing, tender: Those are not adjectives always applied to organ playing, but they fit when Jacobs is the one doing it. Another listener might counter that the impressive thing about the afternoon was his tremendous virtuosity. Jacobs opened with an exuberant B Major prelude and fugue by Marcel Dupré that set the tone for the afternoon: It offered a thick mass of finger- and footwork but was notable for how he layered texture upon texture, now adding a new color, now pulling from the dense mix a single thread on which to string the fugue.