Friday, July 14, 2017

CANADA: Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal & Christine Jensen-Under The Influence Suite (Justin Time, 2017)

Cover Under The Influence Suite 
Christine Jensen was commissioned by l’Orchestre national de jazz to compose a suite for jazz orchestra in 2015. In Under the Influence Suite, she combines the silken voice of Sienna Dahlen with the ONJ’s vast range of sound to pay tribute to composers whose works and musical character have helped forge her personality as a musician, composer and conductor. The suite unfolds with a dyad (two pitches), building upon space and continuing with a form that continually expands intervallically into the first tribute. Starbright is an homage to Toronto-born, London-based trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. The second movement, To Jan, is a chorale Jensen expanded upon, dedicated to the passing of Polish-Canadian composer and pianist Jan Jarczyk, who taught her as well as many of the orchestra members at McGill University. The 3rd movement is dedicated to John Coltrane, working off the sound that he created with his composition Giant Steps. Building off of the theme, it is a call to freedom that evokes the composer’s harmonic and rhythmic audacity. The 4th movement, Sweet Lee, is a composition based on the harmonic structure of a standard close to Jensen’s heart entitled Out of Nowhere, which she had studied extensively after spending time with Lee Konitz. The 5th and final movement is dedicated to Wayne Shorter. Jensen appropriates the playing styles of the two tenors in the band to improvise with concepts including space, communication, and freeplay, in order to evoke freedom. This is how she sums up this bright overview of her influences: “These masters’ unique sonic concepts continue to contribute to my development as a composer and improviser, and I hope every movement in my suite contains a fragment of their character.” Justin Time