June 2009

Christine Jensen Quartet
at The Art of Jazz
June 6, 2009 Women in Jazz Stage Toronto
A report by David Fujino with photo by Mike Colyer
A pleasing balance was struck between composition and improvisation in Christine Jensen's moody and appealing afternoon set.

Mostly played in slow and medium tempos, Jensen's atmospheric modal tunes shone on their own, but they also served to frame the special qualities of each quartet member.

Dave Restivo, for one, was customarily elegant and responsive as an accompanist and soloist, while Jim Vivian's refined bass playing demonstrated why he's such an in-demand player, and drummer Alyssa Falk, visiting from New York, brought to the table a light touch to her sense of time, colour, and nuance.

In her blues, "For Tom Harrell", Jensen's dry lyrical alto kept probing into the tune, but when she quoted from "A Love Supreme", this raised for me the music's incantatory spell several notches. Her mournful tones at times recalled those of altoist Marion Brown.

Her two compositions, "Sea Fever" (and "Yew") reflected the global-minded Jensen's love of the local.

"Sea Fever" is "about the ocean in front of us", she said; the ocean being the Pacific Ocean as viewed by the composer/saxophonist Jensen who hails from Nanaimo, BC, on Vancouver Island. The soprano sax theme and its climbing/structuring/and questioning solo gradually emerged from Dave Restivo's lyrically poised and mesmeric piano themes.

A balance between composition and improvisation and, importantly, a balance between the four musicians was achieved.

Christine Jensen
This was a set of serious and appealing creative music.
The Christine Jensen Quartet
Christine Jensen — alto and soprano saxophones
David Restivo — piano
Jim Vivian — acoustic bass
Alyssa Falk — drums
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
Mike Colyer
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The Live Music Report

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