Sunday, May 29, 2011

Christine Jensen - Treelines (Justin Time Records, 2011)

Composer and arranger Christine Jensen (Jazz Session interview) has assembled an eighteen musician big band to realize her musical ideas on this well done large ensemble album. The music is deeply textured and exists in a multi-layered state emphasizing certain characters in the music especially trumpeter Ingrid Jensen while keeping the music focused on the ensemble as a whole. "Arbutus" has the group together as a unit with their shine building to an interior crescendo, before throttling back to a light nimble section. Using a lush palette of sounds and instruments available, Jensen is able to produce admirable dynamism and coherence to the combinations she chooses. "Red Cedar" opens with a bass solo and brushes, gradually adding space for the music to breathe organically and free the horns, especially the trumpet, which solos framed by the arrangement. "Western View" has a medium tempo developing a slower texture. The sound is slow and patient, almost reverent, before developing an anthemic frame, like a fanfare for nature. "Dropoff" evokes a feeling of wonder, like a young bird being released from the next to fly for the first time. The ensemble playing offers a sense of continual movement with majestic writing and playing. A fragile trumpet interlude develops into a full fledged statement as the centerpiece. "Dark and Stormy Blues" features horns weaving in and out at a medium tempo, them a lightning fast shift to electric bass and trumpet. Not to be outdone, another shift brings in electric guitar and horns, keeping things nice and tight for a fine payoff. This was a well done large ensemble jazz album. The writing and arranging were continually interesting and the ensemble and solo playing were admirable throughout. Treelines -

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