Monday, March 3, 2014

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra Habitat Justin-Time 2014

An intimate journey of self discovery, Christine Jensen is a rising star to be sure.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
The Christine Jensen Orchestra embraces the music and at times the personal thematic concepts offered up from conductor and soprano saxophonist Christine Jensen. Do the themes come from the music or vice versa, doesn't matter as this sophomore effort from Jensen can stand comfortably along side her contemporaries that take on the task for scoring for large ensembles.
 
Christine has the uncanny ability to take a slightly more contemporary approach to melody while losing nothing in the harmonic movement as it morphs into a more orchestrated work. Swing is where you find it, a feeling. While the compositions here are uniquely different there is a deceptively subtle link from a pure emotive perspective indicating that Christine Jensen is indeed the cultural by product of her own experience. "Blue Yonder" fits the more traditional big band niche nicely while still displaying an Afro-Peruvian feel. "Treelines" features critically acclaimed trumpet phenom Ingrid Jenson and works a darker harmonic base, a spatial almost cinematic grandeur that gradually picks up a vibrant swing that while familiar is somehow fresh and untarnished.
 
In general terms, large ensemble orchestra and big band music has fallen out of favor with some as no apparent new ground seems to be tread. Christine Jensen manages to take the feel of a hard charging septet and simply kick it up a notch. This is one of those hidden gems that could easily pass under your radar, don't let it.
Tracks: Treelines; Tumbledown; Blue Yonder; Nishiyuu; Intersection; Sweet Adelphi.
 
Personnel: Christine Jensen: Conductor, Soprano Saxophone; Donny Kennedy: Lead Alto & Soprano Saxophone, Flute; Erik Hove: Alto Saxophone ,Flute; Joel Miller: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet; Chet Doxas: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet; Samuel Blais: Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet; David Grott: Lead Trombone; Jean-Nicholas Trottier: Trombone; Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyyr: Trombone; Bob Ellis: Bass Trombone: (1,3,4,5); Jean-Sebastion Vachon: Bas Trombone (2,6); David Martin: Tuba, Euphonium: (1,2,3,4); Jocelyn Couture: Lead Trumpet; Bill Mahar: Trumpet; David Mossing: Trumpet; Aron Doyle: Trumpet; Ingrid Jensen: Trumpet (1,3,5,6); John Roney: Piano; Ken Bibace: Electric Guitar; Fraser Hollins: Upright Bass; Richard Irwin: Drums; Dave Gossage: Native Flute (4).