A piano introduction, trumpet joins in. A haunting sound, a slow drawn out tempo with a beautiful tone - the soothing trumpet sound of Ingrid Jensen cries out for attention. The stage is set for the sisters Jensen to serenade a receptive Toronto audience. The show, care of Jazz Performance & Education Centre is their third of the series and by all accounts is deemed to be a success. The inaugural season features international artists, the Oliver Jones Trio and Dianne Reeves; they were the first artists to perform. I heard that the Oliver Jones trio was well attended. I was at the Dianne Reeves concert and it was a fantastic show. The Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio and the Bill Charlap/Renee Rosnes Duo are the next scheduled acts; both these groups should be stellar.
JPEC has some grand plans, their primary goal: to create a venue similar to Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. With the support of the jazz community, government and corporate sponsorship this will come to fruition.
Ingrid Jensen explained to the audience that this band had never played together before, they sounded tight for a new group. Ingrid Jensen leads the group, her sister Christine is in support, the rhythm section is in sync with each other - especially bass and drums. The way they feed off each other, you have the impression that they have played together many times. The pianist plays underneath and gently adds melody.
The band is made up of Christine Jensen (saxophones) Robin Dann (voice), Jon Wikan (drums and percussion) Steve Amirault (piano) and Justin Gray (bass). The sisters Jensen play off each other. Ingrid’s playing is magical, she can play with technical finesse, and she can sound like the greats. On her rendition of "Up Jumped Spring" the style of the great Freddie Hubbard comes through.
Ingrid Jensen likes to experiment; she has a raft of electronic effects. In her regular gigs with Maria Schneider Orchestra and Darcy James Argue Secret Society I don’t think she gets away with the electronics. But here in her small group setting she experiments with different effects. At times, some of the sounds she produces remind me of the great Kenny Wheeler. At other times she is alone - her sound is distinct and it is a sound that is magnificent.
The band would fly through "My Sunshine Connection", "Western Yew", with Ingrid taking a whirl on Flugel Horn and sounding delectable. The 2nd set found the band a little more relaxed. Ingrid Jensen communicated with the audience in a laid back manner, she explained the origins of some of the songs and the inspiration behind them. The quintet played a song entitled, "Haitian Fight Song", a song Ingrid Jensen dedicated to the Haitians in their quest to overcome the terrible tragedy recently befallen them.