Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Winter Jazz Fest - Christine & Ingrid Jensen Quintet

You are in for a real treat on Friday night with the sister duo that leads a band of stellar musicians and friends. The Montreal based Christine Jensen teams up with her sister, the Brooklyn based Ingrid Jensen. Christine won a Juno award last year for her incredible big band album and her sister is a member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Both do much more than this of course but this sums up the level of musicians we are talking about. Then there is the sisterhood aspect - siblings have a connection that goes beyond any other relationship and there is no exception here. On friday night joining Christine and Ingrid will be Fraser Hollins on bass, John Wikan on drums and David Restivo on piano.

Christine Jensen was kind enough to tell us about the music you will get to hear on Friday, and more:
1.     This is an amazing group you are bringing to Ottawa. Can you tell us something about the group and the music we will be hearing?
I am so pleased to be able to have musicians close to my heart in music and life on this concert. It's a bit of a culmination of groups that  I have led and co-led over the past ten years. Dave Restivo on piano has been working with me since 2002, when I had him collaborate on a double-piano quintet recording for CBC with Brad Turner as the other pianist playing through my music. It was magic, and we continued to collaborate, including a lot of touring in 2006-2007 with my Look Left CD on Effendi Records. Fraser Hollins is also an old friend to my music, and he has a great connection with the entire band through various recordings and tours through the past ten years.  Ingrid is my sister and a huge voice over my compositions. She is married to an incredible drummer by the name of Jon Wikan. The three of us have been collaborating a lot with our band Nordic Connect over the years as well, touring Sweden, US and Canada. It will be really nice to thread the repertoire that I have chosen for this concert  between these musicians, as they all know if from so many angles with different projects they have worked on with me over the years,  from duo to big band settings.
2.     This is a project shared with your sister Ingrid, what is the best part about working together with your sister? Are there ways you compliment each other? 
We just want to have an intense conversation whenever we get together on the bandstand, and that means listening and responding at a very deep level. Most important, we work on having strong time together in order to make that happen. She adds another level of composition to my music with her performance on the trumpet. Just one of the best creative,  listening musicians on the planet!
3.     You are equally at home in a large ensemble setting as you are in a small group setting, does one inspire the other for you?
It depends on the day, or season. They sort of counteract one another. The minute I am done working on large ensemble I want to jump into the intimacy of improvising in small ensemble where I get more space as a performer. Then after small ensemble events, I get inspired to freeze the spontaneity and create larger pieces of architecture by slowing or "freezing" my thoughts on paper. In a composition, there is a big difference between 1-3 pages of lead sheet for small group, compared to a pound of paper for big band.
4.     You have performed all over the world, do you notice anything different about Canada, it’s music scene and it’s musicians?
We are the most endowed country in the world when it comes to the arts, period!  I just think about the CBC, and how it's original purpose is being dismantled at a rapid rate. It really used to be a way we could share in these riches and push boundaries with our music through some great programming on their part. That spark is gone,  and it just keeps getting watered down. Our music scene in general, reflects the creativity of each corner of this country. it is incredibly difficult to get it disseminated through lack of media and educational awareness to all ages. Within our jazz community, we have set high standards technically as well. I am always shocked and pleasantly surprised to see how many performing arts groups there are hitting really hard on an international level, especially in jazz, modern dance, and new music in general, especially when I am traveling abroad. Recently I took a Canadian quintet to India, to perform at the Delhi International Jazz Festival. We were greeted with open arms to a massive audience in an open-air park. It really felt like we were spreading the word to the world that we have a high level of artistry to share with the world.
5.     You are a part of Ottawa’s first Winter Jazz Fest. Is there something about playing music and being part of a festival in this time of year that you are looking forward to?
The part that  I really like is the programming of our evening. You start with representing a stellar Ottawa line-up with Mark Ferguson and his band. We are on, and then followed by Quinsin and his incredible creativity with a Brooklyn-based ( I think it is) project. I think that the audience is in for a real treat in terms of having a chance to be exposed to a diverse evening of jazz concepts.
6.     What are you most inspired by as an artist these days?
I would say my family. My husband just blows me away as a saxophonist and composer. His latest recording project with Geoffrey Keezer is coming out this spring, and I am inspired by his vision with a small group setting on that. We'll be performing a piece of his in our set as well.
7.     Is there any music that you are excited about now a days?
Okay, my Indie world has taken me towards Bon Iver and Samamidon.  I like their use of new sounds, lyrics mixed with an underlying American folk theme and great production on their recordings.   I am still addicted to Afro-Peruvian music after visiting Peru for a festival in 2008. Overall, anything that grooves, from Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis, to Lee Konitz to Gil Evans.  As a large ensemble composer in jazz, I  always enjoy John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue and Maria Schneider.

The Christine and Ingrid Jensen Quintet will be performing
Feb 3rd at 
NAC's Fourth Stage at 20:30

No comments:

Post a Comment