Mar 9, 2011
Canadian Christine Jensen usually works with her quartet, playing soprano saxophone. On her latest release, Treelines (Justin Time Records) she plumbs new depths of her creativity working with an 18 piece orchestra. Many of Canada's finest jazz musicians are on board for the recording.
Written as an ode to Canada's environment and natural resources, Treelines has echoes of the jazzy touchs Aaron Copland and Ferde Grofe gave to their orchestral works in the Thirties. Songs like "Western Yew" and especially "Vernal Suite" are positively cinematic in their scope, bringing the listener to places they might never see without her arrangments and scoring. Comparisons to her mentor, Maria Schneider, are wholly justified.
Not all is symphony hall stuff. "Dark and Stormy Blues" features memorable solos by alto saxophonist Erik Hove and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (Christine's sister) that make the group sound closer to an Ellington Big Band than an Orchestra. "Dropoff" has a sweeping feel to the band's playing, with Ingrid's flugelhorn solo fluid and engaging.
If Orchestras mean European Art Music by dead white men to you, and Jazz Orchestras seem to only play arrangements from the Big Band canon in your mind, this is surely a CD to widen your musical horizons.