Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

2

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra: Habitat

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra: Habitat Christine Jensen is one of the new breed of composer / arrangers who write for large ensembles on a grand scale, favoring themes that paint well-drawn pictures and tell evocative stories, most of which are based on personal experiences or particular sights or sounds that have lingered in their mind and led them to put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking, of course, as most musicians these days use computers like the rest of us).

Jensen, a Canadian, has assembled a number of the finest sidemen (and one notable woman) she could find to emblazon her second big-band album, Habitat, which comprises a series of extended and picturesque tone poems in the manner of such contemporaries as Maria Schneider and fellow McGill University alumnus Darcy James Argue as well as musical guru Bob Brookmeyer. Even so, Jensen's vernacular is by and large her own, producing essays that parallel her peers while at the same time exploring fresh and engaging pathways. A second Jensen, sister and trumpeter Ingrid, is very much a part of the enterprise, lending her considerable talents to the section on four numbers and soloing on three: "Treelines," "Intersection" and "Sweet Adelphi," the last with Christine making it a twosome on soprano sax.

Another of Christine's compositions, the stormy ballad "Nishiyuu," was written as a showpiece for tenor saxophonist Chet Doxa who invests it with suitable depth and intensity. "Treelines," commissioned by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, raises the curtain, its pliable landscape underscoring purposeful statements by Ingrid Jensen and alto Donny Kennedy. "Tumbledown," which follows, was written by Christine as an homage to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, "Blue Yonder" (the album's briefest track at 7:53) as "a sketch study in Afro-Peruvian festejo rhythm." Tenor Joel Miller and trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier are the soloists on "Tumbledown," baritone Samuel Blais and drummer Richard Irwin on "Blue Yonder." The lyrical, even-tempered "Sweet Adelphi" is preceded by "Intersection," written to depict a walk along Montreal's most diverse and well-known street, rue St. Laurent. Soloists are Miller, Irwin, Ingrid Jensen (with what sounds like added electronics), bassist Fraser Hollins, alto Erik Hove and pianist John Roney.

If nothing else, Habitat serves unequivocal notice that Christine Jensen is a composer whose remarkable perception and ingenuity should enrich the contemporary big-band scene for many years to come. In other words, this impressive step forward marks the beginning of what could be a long and successful journey.


Track Listing: Treelines; Tumbledown; Blue Yonder; Nishiyuu; Intersection; Sweet Adelphi.

Personnel: Christine Jensen: composer, arranger, conductor, soprano sax (6); Jocelyn Couture: trumpet; Bill Mahar: trumpet; Dave Mossing: trumpet; Aron Doyle: trumpet; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet (1, 3, 5, 6); Donny Kennedy: alto, soprano sax, flute; Erik Hove: alto sax, flute; Joel Miller: tenor sax, clarinet; Chet Doxas: tenor sax, clarinet; Samuel Blais: baritone sax, clarinet; Dave Gossage: native flute (4); David Grott: trombone; Jean-Nicolas Trottier: trombone; Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyyr: trombone; Bob Ellis: bass trombone (1, 3-5); Jean-Sebastian Vachon: bass trombone (2, 6); Dave Martin: tuba, euphonium (1-4); John Roney: piano; Ken Bibace: electric guitar; Fraser Hollins: bass; Richard Irwin: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Justin Time Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "Utazata" CD/LP/Track Review Utazata
Read "Imagine That" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine That
Read "Let’s Get Lost" CD/LP/Track Review Let’s Get Lost
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
Read "Terre II" CD/LP/Track Review Terre II

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!