Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen, a Montreal-based composer and saxophonist, has been called “an original voice in international jazz… [and] one Canada’s most compelling composers.” Mark Miller of Globe and Mail described Jensen as “an original voice on international jazz scene… [and] a] Canadian composer.” Greg Buium, Downbeat Magazine’s editor, said that Jensen writes in three dimensions and has a quiet authority that enables the various elements to cohere. Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter and Maria Schneider are just a few of the names that come to mind. Treelines – The Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, her latest album on Justin-Time Records won her the Juno Award for Contemporary Jazz Album and Quebec’s Opus Award as jazz recording of the year. Downbeat magazine called it “…a spectacular orchestral debut… ****1/2 star.” This ensemble performed with her at various jazz festivals in Canada and at Dizzy’s Jazz Club Lincoln Center in New York. “Jensen’s formidable orchestra is the glistening sunshine, the tranquility, force of the ocean and the majestic trees that she music imagines.” -Jazz Times en previously released three small ensemble albums: Collage (2000) and A Shorter Distance (2002) all on the Effendi record label. She co-leads Nordic Connect with Ingrid Jensen (New York-based trumpeter) and Maggi Olin (she is a close friend and musical cohort). Their first joint album, Flurry, was released in 2007. They followed it up with Spirals in 2010. Over the past five year, they have toured extensively in Canada, the US, and Scandinavia. J.D. reviewed the concert Nordic Connect at the Rex in Toronto. J.D. In 2006, she completed her Master’s degree in Jazz Performance. Christine learned how to play the saxophone under the guidance of a number of top musicians, including Pat La Barbera and Remi Bolduc, Jim McNeely and Jim McNeely. She is an adjudicator and clinician at McGill and an instructor. She has shared her passion for music and valuable experience abroad with young jazz lovers from all over the globe, including Peru, Turkey, Montreal and back to the West Coast. She is active in jazz education, leading workshops and clinics, and adjudicating. She has worked with many musicians over the years, including Geoffrey Keezer and Leny, Pickett, Brad Turner. Francois Theberge. Gary Versace. Donny McCaslin Steve Amirault. Franck Amsallem. Ingrid also maintains long-term musical relationships. Joel Miller is her partner. Her career has been marked by her ability to compose. While still a McGill undergrad, she contributed to Vernal Fields (Enja Records) her sister’s debut album. This album won a Juno Award. She was able to recognize her talents as a composer early on and encouraged her to continue writing. Jensen says that composition seems to have been a natural gift for her. It’s a way she enjoys expressing herself. My progress as a composer has been steady. This is probably different from many musicians my age who are quick to become stars. Composing has allowed me to grow over time, while improvising allows me to take advantage of the moment. This is what makes contemporary jazz artists so special. Jensen is often seen performing and recording with Ingrid, her sister. They have performed together around the globe from Seattle’s Jazz Alley through New York’s Museum of Modern Art to a SS Norway Jazz Cruise to a tour of Japan 1997. Our approach is definitely balanced. She says that we come from different educational backgrounds in later years. “But we are from the same area, we grew-up together, and there is a spiritual aspect to the playing that allows us to connect like none other.” Jensen’s music has been performed around the world by ensembles including the UMO Big Band in Finland, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band in Germany, and the McGill Jazz Orchestra in Montreal. In 2006, she was awarded the Opus Award for Jazz Concert of the year by the Quebec Council for the Arts for her leadership of the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra with special guest Donny Mccaslin. Jensen received a six-month residency as a composer in Paris at the Quebec Studio, Cite Internationale des Arts in 2002. This was sponsored by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec. After her return to Canada, Jensen toured extensively with her band, revising the material that led to the recording of Look Left. Due to the strong relationship between band members (pianist Dave Restivo and bassist Fraser Hollins; drummer Greg Ritchie; frequent guest guitarist Ken Bibace), her music has continued to evolve alongside her voice as a composer using her original repertoire. Christine Jensen was born in Sechelt in British Columbia in 1970. She grew up in Nanaimo with some of Canada’s most respected musicians including Phil Dwyer and Diana Krall. Her mother, who was a pianist, raised her daughters in music and exposed them to all kinds of music from Chopin to Broadway to Big Bands. Jensen was born to a love of the piano and developed a unique style that was influenced by two greats: Oscar Peterson (her first love) and Bill Evans (her second love). She began studying the saxophone when she was 12 years old, and quickly fell in love with it, realizing that she could make her own sound through the instrument. Jensen has been busy touring the world with her music over the past few years. She has performed in India, Peru and Chile as well as Chile, Denmark. Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, Turkey, Chile, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Chile. She performed with her quartet at Dizzy’s Club in Lincoln Center and Burlington’s “Discover Jazz” Festival in 2007. Jensen can often be heard on CBC radio, Radio-Canada’s Espace-Musique and other radio stations across the country. from

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