WJO CD DETAILS
THE WINNIPEG JAZZ ORCHESTRA’s seventh release
features a commission between two of Canada’s most compelling writers for Big Band Jazz: Jill Townsend and Christine Jensen. The music born of this meeting reflects on the places that meant the most to them, especially the bodies of water that surrounded them both in their youth up until the present. Townsend captures images and sounds of her east coast upbringing, unfolding into Jensen's west coast childhood memories. The music moves into the waters surrounding them at present, including Townsend's now west coast land and waterscape and Jensen's explorations of her Montreal environs on the powerful St-Lawrence seaway.
They have blended their compositions into one suite
with the WJO: Tidal Currents: East meets West.
Both composers are featured as guest artists, with
Jill Townsend as conductor and Christine Jensen as soprano saxophone soloist.
Recorded at Musirex Productions, Winnipeg MB
between 04 December 2022 and 22 March 2023
Recording engineer, editing & mixing / Larry Roy
Mastering / Guy Hébert
Produced by / Larry Roy, Christine Jensen & Jill Townsend
Photos / cover: Josh Withers (unsplash); inside: Jill Townsend, Ucluelet BC
Artwork / Jon Snidal
This project was made possible by a grant from the
Canada Council for the Arts,
and by on-going support from the
Manitoba Arts Council & the Winnipeg Arts Council.
Tidal Currents - East Meets West
Inside The Wave / Jill Townsend........................................................................7:07
Crossing Lachine / Christine Jensen..................................…….................… 7:12
Tidal Currents / Jill Townsend……………........................…………….......................7:34
Rock Skipping Under The Half Moon / Christine Jensen ………… 7:41
Inside the Wave / Matt Walden (trumpet); Fabio Ragnelli (drums)
Crossing Lachine / Fabio Ragnelli (drums); Niall Cade (tenor sax)
Tidal Currents / Karl Kohut (beginning bass); Christine Jensen (soprano sax)
Rocks Skipping Under the Half Moon / Christine Jensen (soprano sax)
INSIDE THE WAVE (note by J. Townsend)
Inside the Wave was inspired by the rugged west coast and majestic ocean waves near Sooke, BC. The opening theme played by the saxes represents the waves as they uncurl and unfold onto the shore. An abrupt change of meter and feel midway through the movement emphasizes the unpredictable character of coastal weather.
CROSSING LACHINE (note by C. Jensen)
This is inspired by my current love for paddle boarding across the St Lawrence river right at the base of the Lachine Rapids in Montreal. During the summer, I let go with the most thrilling paddles on this majestic body of water, full of currents whirling around me. At the same time I am able to glide fast over them, while looking at stunning horizons at this unique vista on water.
TIDAL CURRENTS (note by J. Townsend)
Small waves washing over tiny rocks close to the shore are reimagined using the sounds of piano, bass, drums, and muted brass. As with tidal currents, the music also ebbs and flows. Cascading horns provide a backdrop for the beautiful sound of Christine Jensen’s soprano sax.
ROCK SKIPPING UNDER THE HALF MOON (note by C. Jensen)
This composition is inspired by my birthplace of Sechelt, British Columbia. I practiced rock skipping there, on the beautiful Sechelt Inlet with the gorgeous coastal mountains in the shadows. This piece starts out with the shimmer sounds of the small inlet waves calling us down to the shoreline. With two notes, we start the practice of rock skipping. The theme also takes place over the swaying rhythms of a slow waltz that mimics the feel of lapping of waves on the shoreline. It gets extended, as I continue to climb intervallically with the lines, pulling them longer and higher, again alluding to achieving a longer row of rock skips with the end.
A prolific composer and arranger, Jill Townsend is the leader of the critically acclaimed Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra. JTJO has released two recordings to date earning them international recognition, and their 2015 recording Legacy, featuring the music of Ross Taggart was voted #1 in CBC’s Top Ten Outstanding CD’s of the Year. In addition, the Canadian National Jazz Awards twice nominated JTJO for Large Ensemble of the Year.
Jill has composed and arranged music to feature several guest artists appearing with her large ensemble including legendary B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, renowned trombonist/arranger Ian McDougall, saxophonist Greg Yasinitsky, acclaimed trombonist Jiggs Whigham and Kansas City B3 organist, Chris Hazelton.
Jill was commissioned to arrange music for the 2018 Cellar Live release Explosion, by the Cory Weeds Little Big Band. Her music has been recorded and performed by many ensembles throughout North America including the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra and Calgary based Prime Time Big Band, featuring award-winning saxophonist PJ Perry. She also served as co-director of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra for two seasons.
Jill teaches jazz arranging and private composition at Capilano University, and is the Director of the Dues Big Band at Douglas College.
Montreal-based alto and soprano saxophonist
Christine Jensen is regarded as one of Canada’s most compelling composers and improvisers. She recently won the Downbeat Critic’s Poll for Rising Star Big Band, Arranger, and Soprano Saxophonist. She is also recipient of the Oscar Peterson Prize by the Montreal International Jazz Festival for her contributions to the Canadian jazz scene.
Born in Sechelt and raised in Nanaimo, she has gone on to receive two Juno Awards for her jazz orchestra recordings Habitat and Treelines. Habitat received the coveted 5 stars in Downbeat, along with being included at the top of their critics polls for Jazz Album of the Year in 2014. Her collaborations with Orchestre National Jazz Montreal have had her conducting Terence Blanchard, The Music of Carla Bley, as well as recording her commissioned suite Under the Influence. She performs globally with her sister Ingrid Jensen on trumpet with various projects, including their Juno-nominated group Infinitude, as well as with Swedish pianist Maggi Olin. Highlights sharing the stage include performing with Phil Dwyer, Ben Monder, Gary Smuylan, Geoffrey Keezer, Lenny Pickett and Donny McCaslin.
As a guest artist Jensen has conducted and performed with large ensembles across Europe and North America, including the UMO Big Band-Finland, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Frost-UMiami, and New School-NY. She is on faculty at McGill University where she teaches composition and directs Jazz Orchestra 1.
“Jensen writes in three dimensions, with a quiet kind of authority that makes the many elements cohere. Wayne Shorter, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler come to mind.” –Downbeat
Christine Jensen, alto /soprano saxophone
Neil Watson, alto saxophone
Niall Cade, tenor saxophone
Monica Jones, tenor saxophone
Kyle Wedlake, baritone saxophone
Joel Green, trombone
Jeremy Duggleby, trombone
Francois Godere, trombone
Isabelle Lavoie, trombone
Shane Hicks, trumpet
Jeni Taylor, trumpet
Richard Gillis, trumpet
Matthew Walden, trumpet
Will Bonness, piano
Karl Kohut, bass
Fabio Ragnelli, Drums
Larry Roy, guitar
PRESS QUOTES ABOUT THE ALBUM:
Their imaginative approach to this project is beautifully performed by the band. This is
music for times of contemplation.
Joe Lang – Jersey Jazz
This is a stellar release by a superb ensemble, with
from the featured guests. Multiple
listening sessions will reveal new layers each time.
David Reed – Belleville Intelligencer
For its seventh album, the venerable and always excellent Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra commissioned a suite from two of Canada's most compelling writers for big band:
Jill Townsend and Christine Jensen…
Impeccable recorded sound does the whole project justice.
Robert Rowat – CBC Music
… a terrific ensemble whose seventh release maintains the high standard set by its predecessors… Tidal Currents: East Meets West makes for a splendid addition to the group's discography.
Ron Schepper – Textura