Jazz CD Reviews
Jentsch Group Large – Brooklyn Suite – Fleur de Son Classics
Published on March 12, 2008
(Chris Jentsch, elec. guitar; 16-piece band cond. by J.C. Sanford)
Guitarist-composer Jentsch has crafted a major work for guitar and orchestra in the jazz/rock genre. He had previously written a Miami Suite in the same way – starting with tunes developed in the context of his quartet, expanding them and linking them together with various interludes to form a larger musical canvas. What makes his approach unusual and dissimilar from most jazz sessions, which are recorded live, is that Jentsch has overdubbed additional lines, backgrounds, counterpoint and other effects onto the original big band tracks – more in the style of producing a rock or pop album.
Jentsch’s guitar influences are Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, but he says his sounds are closer to Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. He does use the distortion effect on one of the early tracks as well as the closing Our Daily Bread, which I disliked in this context, but the general tenor of the suite is a non-programmatic jazz portrait of where Jentsch hangs out – Brooklyn. The players are all adept and provide pleasing support to Jetsch’s guitar solos. The band is made up of reeds, trumpets and trombones plus bas and drums. There is no second guitar and no piano in the band. (The final two tracks are not part of the Brooklyn Suite.)
TrackList: Opening Shards, Inside (interlude), Outside Line, Going to Hail (interlude), Follow That Cab, Imagining the Mirror, Closing Shards, See You in Bali, Our Daily Bread.
– John Henry