Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
2

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra: Habitat

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count Views
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

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Podcast
Read more articles
Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band Live
Transatlantic...
Linedown Records
2016
buy
Habitat
Habitat
Justin Time Records
2014
buy
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra: Habitat
Christine Jensen Jazz...
Justin Time Records
2014
buy
Look Left
Look Left
Effendi Records
2006
buy
A Shorter Distance
A Shorter Distance
Effendi Records
2002
buy
Collage
Collage
Effendi Records
2001
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Brad Mehldau Brad Mehldau
piano
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Tom Harrell Tom Harrell
trumpet
Kenny Wheeler Kenny Wheeler
trumpet
Bobo Stenson Bobo Stenson
piano
Ralph Towner Ralph Towner
guitar
Ingrid Jensen Ingrid Jensen
trumpet

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.