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Christine Jensen's maturity is in quick evidence on this album. Not only does she show great skills as a writer, but her arrangements fill her tunes with a pulsating body and show a keen mind for color and layered textures. She presents compositions for quintet, sextet and septet settings, giving each one character and fulfillment.
Jensen does not bow to the popular or the mundane in her writing. Each song is complex and crafted to bring out the best in the players. She gives them enough room to map their own within the framework, which they do with an intuition that is lyrical and full-bodied.
Jensen does not necessarily follow the norm in her saxophone playing. There is no "Dilemma" for her when she opens with abstraction before touching on a melodic line and taking it to its linear extension. Pianist John Sadowy picks up the melody with a flounce before the sax comes in again for an advent into shifting timbres. A gradual build up in intensity marks "Halfway Home." Ingrid Jensen stirs a quiet storm on the trumpet, the dynamics upped by Christine in whorls before the tension become more palpable. The arc is wide on the title track. Christine's harmonics make reference to Wayne Shorter, but there is no denying that she sculpts her own lines that are very nicely abetted by those from her sister. There is some tasteful drum and bass work to augment the tune, and most certainly the piano that brings in a lighter, bright spark. The lone standard, "I Loves You Porgy," takes its own jaunt, but if convention was to be the way for Jensen, she would be mundane. In the most positive of terms, she just isn't so.
Track Listing: Dilemma; Halfway Home; Just Last Week; A Shorter Distance; Red
Roads; Backyard; I Loves You Porgy; Chelsea Rain.
Personnel: Christine Jensen: alto and soprano sax; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet and
flugelhorn; Ken Bibace: ?guitar; Joel Miller: tenor sax; John
Sadowy: piano and Fender Rhodes; Fraser Hollins: bass; Jon
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.