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Nordic Connect: Flurry (2007)

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Nordic Connect: Flurry How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Following the career of Canadian/Scandinavian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen seemed to peak at a new level with At Sea (ArtistShare, 2006), which ambitiously resembled an ECM label project. However, all that has now been overshadowed by the release of Flurry by Nordic Connect. This is a family cooperative that includes an interwoven cast: Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn, her sister Christine on alto and soprano sax in addition to Swedish pianist-composer Maggi Olin, a former schoolmate of Ingrid's at the Berklee College of Music. Rounding out the ensemble are drummer Jon Wikan (Jensen's husband who bears Alaskan and Norwegian bloodlines) and bassist Mattias Welin.

Despite leading a busy recording career as a composer/band leader and featured soloist for the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Jensen's impetus in forming this ensemble was to pursue a musical connection between her sister and pianist Olin, as well as to explore the Nordic connection of the music.

The album begins with a similarity to At Sea, with the smeary, ECM-like title composition. Soon it switches gears, to include a variety of tempos and shifting of musical styles that sometimes suggest a Millennium edition of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers and the second Miles Davis Quintet that Jensen has always had an affinity for.

On "Sweet Dream," Jensen's solo suggests that she might be Lee Morgan seeking to break the bonds of gravity, while "Sweet Adelphi" is an uplifting waltz setting for Christine's alto sax. "Things I Love" resumes an atmospheric touch with the addition of Wikan's use of the cajon (Peruvian hand drum).

Many highlights make this album destined for repeated listening with beautiful and haunting work from the musicians. On "Seascape," an impressive feeling of longing permeates the composition; the closing "Breathe/Quadri'l" begins as a down-tempo composition that is intertwined with Christine's alto sax. The piece continues with shifting tonal colors, concluding with some Ingrid's hard bop finale.

All compositions were written by the Jensens and Olin. While there is some sporadic use of the Fender Rhodes, it is not an overwhelming factor insofar as enjoyment of this album.

Track Listing: Flurry; Sweet Adelphi; Things I Love; Sweet Dream; Garden Hour; Seascape; Seafever; Cowboy; Breathe/Quadr'l.

Personnel: Ingrid Jensen: trumpet, flugelhorn; Christine Jensen: alto and soprano sax; Maggi Olin: piano, Fender Rhodes; Jon Wikan: drums, cajon, percussion; Mattias Welin: acoustic bass.

Record Label: ArtistShare

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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