Chronograph Records CR-109

Saxophones Christeen Jensen (Alto, Soprano), Neil Watson (Alto), Niall Cade (Tenor), Monica Jones (Tenor), Kyle Wedlake (Baritone); Trumpets Shane Hicks, Jenny Taylor, Richard Gillis, Matthew Walden; Trombones Joel Green, Jeremy Duggleby, Francois Godere, Isabelle Lavoie; Piano Will Bonness; Guitar Larry Roy; Bass Karl Kohut; Drums Fabio Ragnellie; Conductor Jill Townsend

Recorded December 04, 2022, to March 22, 2023, at Musirex Productions, Winnipeg MB 

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra (WJO) is a non-profit, professional jazz orchestra that was founded in 1997. Their objective is to promote and advance big band jazz in Manitoba and beyond. Over the years, the orchestra has become an integral part of Winnipeg’s cultural scene. Recently, the WJO launched their seventh album entitled “Tidal Currents: East Meets West.”

Jill Townsend and Juno award-winning composer and saxophonist Christine Jensen worked together to compose the “East Meets West” Suite. The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra commissioned this composition, and the recording includes Townsend conducting while Jensen performs as the soprano saxophone soloist.

Townsend and Jensen, who are both composers, were raised in Canada and currently reside near bodies of water. This geographical perspective has heavily influenced the music on their album, as the songs are inspired by the places that held the most meaning to them. Their music is a reflection of their personal connections to water on their respective coasts.

Inside the Wave” is a musical composition depicting ocean waves as they approach the shore. The repetitive phrases in the music, along with its rolling nature, give the listener a sensation of being inside the waves as they come onto the shore and gently lap it. The horn arrangements add to this wave-like effect by incorporating a repeated motif that imitates the constant waves coming onto the shore, with varying degrees of intensity.

“Crossing Lachine” is a musical composition inspired by Jensen’s paddle-boarding experience across the St. Lawrence River at the base of the Lachine Rapids. The arrangement captures the river’s flow, beginning with a smooth rhythm that is soon interrupted by ripples of varying strength, played by the horns. The saxophone solo in the piece accentuates the smooth beauty of gliding on water.

 “Tidal Currents” by Townsend depicts small waves on the shore. The piano, bass, and percussion introduce short phrases that build up to a soprano solo by Jensen. The arrangement beautifully captures the ebb and flow of the water.

The orchestra is an excellent medium for expressing water-inspired songs. The different compositions aptly reflect the subtleties of waterits waves, river currents, rapids, and peaceful, tranquil surfaces.