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This Topics in American History project...
...commissioned by Chamber Music America in 2015 has been a fulfilling experience to write, perform, and produce. Video of the premiere is still to come, but first there is the last scheduled performance and CD Release Event MON April 30, 2018. It will be my first time performing in the city in years, so I'm excited about that...we'll be at Greenwich House Music School in The West Village! See Calendar for details!

A Word About Buying the Fractured Pop CD/DVD
The hard copy CD/DVD is available at many of the usual outlets, but I've looked, and some of them are so far not as up and running as they should be. Feel free to contact me through this site directly for mail order with a check or intent to PayPal to support me most directly. Downloads seem ready for action through iTunes (but you'll be missing the DVD content: short live set, mashup/remixes, slide show music vids, lead sheets, etc.).

1st Round of CMA Commission Performances
Made out well at the "Topics in American History" premiere. We captured multi-track audio and 3 cameras of video...should be plenty of media to come up with a DVD as is now tentatively planned. The follow up performance featured a new movement that the hour length premiere slot could not accommodate. The plan is for audio of this extra movement to be added to the live DVD with a slide show element. More follow up performances of this work are in the planning stages.

Am proud to be among the recipients of this year's CMA New Jazz Works commissions supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. I'll be writing an extended work for Jentsch Group No Net. The commission supports several performances and a recording, with the premiere probably to happen sometime in the Fall of 2016. Along with my third NYSCA (see below), it looks like the upcoming will be a rewarding year or three.

Chris Jentsch has received his third New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Composer Commission. For this as yet untitled “modified aleatoric” project, Jentsch will be collaborating with Buffalo, NY based composer John Bacon, Jr. ( Jentsch will produce a book of aleatoric compositions for 2 chamber groups. Working with Dr. Bacon, general parameters for each piece will be specified. Then, in isolation, both composers will write to these specifications and the resulting pieces will be performed simultaneously.

Jentsch’s relationship with the composer/percussionist John Bacon goes back to the 1990s when they began performing in each other’s small jazz groups. They also made a duo recording of spontaneous improvisations, though their method was not totally free. They would agree on certain key elements before improvising each piece. Their goal on the current project will be to follow up on this relationship by expanding their collaboration in merging separately composed pieces that have been written with pre-determined parameters as to mode, groove, tessitura, style, program, harmonic framework, texture, note value, key, or mood, etc. Specifics of one or more of these elements will be assigned to each composer for each piece to effect a partially determined mix and match.

There will be a concert premiere in Buffalo this November 2015 (TBA), and a recording. Previous NYSCA grants awarded to Dr. Jentsch include commissions for his 75 minute jazz orchestra work Cycles Suite (2007), and a book of compositions for his chamber jazz ensemble Jentsch Group No Net (2012).

Composer statement from Chris Jentsch:

“All of my life I have been a believer in education in its various forms, in organized learning, in knowing what one is doing. However, none of the music degree programs I graduated from addressed the subject of intuition and the role it can play in artistic creation. I have come to suspect that somewhere in the brain there is a blending of or an interaction between all of one’s knowledge that can only be accessed intuitively - that “happy accidents” might not always be so simply characterized. Perhaps a conservatory is loath to recognize the efficacy of the use of intuition because it might challenge the institution’s existence or undermine the clear benefits of hard work, discipline, and the established procedures. Or perhaps it is just not something one can easily teach.

“For years I have been using improvisation, intuition, and aleatoric methods to heighten spontaneity, musical inspiration, and expression. ‘Combining improvisation with composition’ is even a common buzz-phrase that usually means a soloist is simply directed to improvise at some point in the proceedings…but taking ideas from previous live improvisations, combining them as I have often done, and applying them to the luxury of the editing process has yielded a unique product unattainable through exclusive use of either conventional composition or spontaneous improvisation alone - one way to use intuition in composition. The term aleatoric is sometimes misunderstood to mean 100% chance operations when it usually means that only some aspect of the project involves chance. John Cage famously shifted ‘…his responsibility from making choices to asking questions’. With this project our modification will be to simply ask questions about our choices.

“This project is the next step in developing my ideas of blending conventional learning experiences and intuition with the potential miracles of chance operations. Along with co-composer Dr. John Bacon, Jr. of Buffalo NY, we will produce a book of aleatoric compositions for 2 chamber groups. General parameters for each pair of pieces will be specified such as mode, groove, tessitura, style, program, harmonic framework, texture, or note value, etc. Then, in isolation, both composers will write to these specifications. The resulting pieces will be performed simultaneously, with the musicians of the two groups blending their halves of the total compositions for the first time only at the premiere (rehearsals will be separate for each subgroups’ halves of the pieces). The purpose of this project is to develop a context in which our two compositional backgrounds can interact with chance operations in order to create a musical result that neither one of us could have produced on our own.”

LIVE STREAMING available for No Net
Anyone outside of NY State can LIVE STREAMING this Thursday's debut of Jentsch Group No Net at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn. 8:30 on Thursday, December 20, 2012. See Calendar for more details.

Jentsch Group No Net
My NYSCA-commissioned 9-piece chamber jazz music premiere at ShapeShifter Lab Thursday evening, December 20, 2012. See Calendar for a few more details.

Busy Year Coming Up
At least three major threads are converging this coming year: 1) The new quartet CD/DVD Fractured Pop will probably be finished and released this year (the audio is done and the DVD phase is wrapping up), 2) the NYSCA commission for Jentsch Group No Net will probably premiere this December 2012 (personnel, date, and venue pending), and 3) Looks like the ACF commission for myself and the Western CT Youth Orchestra will premiere this coming May 2013.

New NYSCA grant
I'm on a roll this year with successful project proposals. I've just been awarded my second grant from New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Composer Commission program (NYSCA). [The first one was for Cycles Suite.] I'll be writing, premiering, and recording a set of nonet compositions for the debut of JENTSCH GROUP NO NET. This combined with the guitar and orchestra commission below) will make for a very exciting year!

Just received...
...a commission from American Composer Forum to write a piece to feature myself on electric guitar with the Western Connecticut Youth exciting project scheduled for a premiere in CT during thier 2012-13 season. Details TBA.

Web site adds
Lots of new stuff posted. Check out the new page on the navigation list to the left for scores/lead sheets and the page for writings. Much new content on the interviews page also...

Fractured Pop overdubs and editing...
...were just completed at the end of February in Buffalo. The final disc will have ten tracks and possibly a DVD. Mixing will happen probably this spring.

Fractured Pop Sessions
Just completed basic tracks for a new Jentsch Group Quartet record over a weekend. We were able to capture plenty of good stuff, to which I'll overdub more guitar parts. I have other ideas for the complete package as well, stay tuned. No release date yet.

...of our concert/video taping at Context Studios in June. The band was really on and we got some very good footage. I'll have to see what I can do about dissemination...

The Cycles Suite CD... now available online at the Fleur de Son Records Web site.

New Commission Premiere
I've been awarded a Brooklyn Conservatory Commission to write something for the Conservatory's New Music Collective concert on May 16, 2009. I'll be setting Emily Dickinson's:
Just Lost, When I Was Saved!


Soprano (Julieanne Klein)
Alto Flute (David Wechsler)
Violin (Masha Lankovsky)
Trombone (Gregory Erickson)

The Cycles Suite premiere...
The FEB 11 2008 Jentsch Group Large concert at the Kitchen was a great success. I think we probably got a very good recording of a terific performance by the band. We received a nice review in the NY Sun.

Brooklyn Suite CD...
Some good reviews are in: AllAboutJazz and February's DownBeat Magazine (to be posted). I'm also quoted about the Brooklyn scene in Dan Ouellette's DB Question column in March.

Guest DJ, WKCR New York
I was the guest host on June 6 of the Musician’s Show on WKCR here in NY. Every Wednesday, they invite a working musician into their studios to act as a 'guest DJ' on Jazz Alternatives. I was asked to program jazz that was influential to me, things I’m currently listening to related to jazz, and some of my own stuff. Here’s my hopelessly eclectic play list (spaces indicate set breaks):

Steve Lacy/Roswell Rudd - Monk’s Dream

Egberto Gismonte – Kalimba
Norma Winstone – Café

Jentsch Group Large – Follow That Cab (scroll down)

Wes Montgomery – ‘Round Midnight
Jim Hall – I Hear a Rhapsody
Tim Hagans – I Hear a Rhapsody

Duke Ellington – Caravan
Quintet of the Hot Club of France – Body and Soul
Louis Armstrong – Just one of Those Things

80s Nostalgia Set:
Art Ensemble of Chicago – Zero
Oregon – The Rapids

Christopher Jentsch Trio – Summer grasses, all that remains of soldiers’ dreams (scroll down)

Miles Davis – All of You (Plugged Nickel)

Studio orchestra set:
Frank Sinatra - It’s a Lonesome Old Town
Joni Mitchell – A Case of You

Jentsch Group Large – Imagining the Mirror (scroll down)

Garbarek, Vitous, Erskine – Clouds in the Mountain
Paul Bley – Ida Lupino

Tom Waits – Come on up to the House
Sidsel Andriessen – This is the Movie

Thanks to my host, Dave Seidenberg, and to those that called in.

Jentsch Group Large CD Release
Brooklyn Suite CDs are in and are available at the following:
Fleur De Son Records - additional sound sample available
or through this Web site - go to the music page (scroll down).

contact: send Chris an email