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More press for:
Brooklyn Suite
Jentsch Group Large

Jentsch Group Quartet at the Tea Lounge
“A work (and album) that aims to encompass as much cultural terrain as the borough that inspired it, Chris Jentsch's Brooklyn Suite was one of last year's most satisfyingly ambitious jazz efforts. The fine guitarist distills his arrangement for 16 musicians down to quartet size for two performances with Matt Renzi (sax, clarinet), Jim Whitney (bass), and John Mettam (drums) at this bastion of Park Slope slackerdom.”
-- Richard Gehr, Village Voice

“Nice guitar work from the leader…the big band writing is tight, conceptually ambitious, packed with monster solos.”
-- David Adler

“Outstanding Big-Band Recordings of the Year (2007)”
-- Jack Bowers, AllAboutJazz

“A major work for guitar and orchestra in the jazz/rock genre.”
-- Audiophile Audition

 

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Brooklyn Suite   Fleur de Son  ****
With this five-part suite, Jentsch reveals himself as a composer and orchestrator of considerable talent. Using a standard big-band format, the basic material for the suite was recorded live, with further textural effects, including line-doubling, added in post- production. But this says little about the skill Jentsch brings to bear on the process. He's adept at wringing orchestral colour out of motifs without obscuring their unifying effect with cluttered writing; the music has room to breathe, as do his soloists (himself included), whose rock-influenced guitar sound works in this context. What results is something that defies easy categorisation, occupying a space all its own, yet referencing jazz and rock influences, including Gil Evans, and pursuing an approach that transmutes short-form writing into thoughtful, satisfyingly detailed, purposeful, lengthy scores. 
-- Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times

"With intimate solo guitar passages, swelling horn themes and sumptuous atmospheres, Chris Jentsch's seven-part homage to his home borough is at once grandly orchestral and strikingly personal. Expanded from quartet pieces to suit a 16-piece ensemble and further enhanced by careful use of overdubs and editing, the suite presents a seamlessly introspective flow, rising and ebbing in tidal surges. The entire band seems to radiate from Jentsch's pensive guitar pulse, blending jazz, classical and rock ideas into a multidimensional reflection of everyday life."
-- Forrest Dylan Bryant, Jazz Times

Brooklyn Suite
“10 Best 2007”
“Top Debut of 2007”

“You certainly won’t find it at Wal-Mart, but guitarist-composer Jentsch’s new CD, Brooklyn Suite (Fleur de Son) is worth searching out through Amazon and other Web-based vendors. On it, his 16-member ensemble plays through a series of themes and variations that alternate in tempo, texture and mood – much like the borough it depicts so colorfully. The soloists are impressive as well. Here’s proof that music jazz critics term “important” can also be awfully enjoyable.”
-- Paul Blair, Hot House Magazine

“This album is a success to the heights of the ambitions of its author, the excellent guitarist, composer and band leader Chris Jentsch. Heading a large ensemble whose majestic and subtly detailed sound evokes the legendary Miles Davis Capitol sessions of the 50s ("Birth of the Cool"), Jentsch puts his signature to a concerto for guitar and orchestra that sounds passionate from beginning to end. The diversity of sonic ambiences, sophisticated counterpoint, orchestral power, and always practical and wonderfully played arrangements all serve as a luxurious framework for the expressive guitar (both quiet and daring) of an exceptional musician. …it's clear that what we are seeing here is an event that celebrates a captivating encounter between classical music and contemporary Jazz. Bravo!”
-- Claude Oberg, Dictionnaire du Jazz

“Brooklyn guitarist/composer Chris Jentsch was commissioned by American Composers Forum as a feature for his electric guitar sounds and textures. He utilizes his large group format to bring his ambitious work to life. This is orchestral jazz, which is not nearly a new concept, but Jentsch is adept at composing for a big band while using a small group feel. The horns move the musical action forward sometimes and sit back in the mix on the others, creating colors of sound. There are other soloists besides Jentsch, including on trombone, saxophone and clarinet, but it is not in the traditional set-up/feature as a regular big band chart. Styles range from compositional contemporary to swinging call-and-answer… Jentsch’s electric guitar work brings modern tonalities, which keeps the sound lively and fresh, along with musical themes that aren’t overstated. The music can be propelling and dense (“See You in Bali”) or stark and pensive (“Going to Hail”), and all is meant to capture Jentsch’s daily existence in his New York burg. Job well done.”
-- Kyle O'Brien, Jazz Society of Oregon

“JENTSCH GROUP LARGE (Monday) Last year the guitarist and composer Chris Jentsch released ''Brooklyn Suite'' (Fleur de Son), a large-canvas reverie for this appropriately named ensemble. Here he presents ''Cycles Suite,'' a new commission designed to feature the trumpeter Mike Kaupa…”
-- Nate Chinen, New York Times

Brooklyn Suite  ***
“Guitarist Chris Jentsch succeeds on "Brooklyn Suite" in doing what it seems Gerald Wilson was trying to do on "Monterey Moods." He is able to create freshness in his melodic theme-play where Wilson constructed thinly veiled repetition. Leading a 16-piece big band, Jentsch takes tunes he says were initiated by his quartet and puts together music mindful of Maria Schneider's. The homage to his current hometown is played by a group that features traditional big-band instrumentation, yet offers continually fresh sounds, as Schneider would do. The nine movements range from 13:11 to 1:56 minutes in length and explore themes sometimes in semi-classical ways. "Outside Line," for instance, is a larger, longer look at "Opening Shards" and "Inside," which starts the suite. By the time the suite reaches "Follow That Cab," the melodic hints are well established and emerge as bits of development. Besides the consistently good work of the guitarist, the album also feature fins saxophone play from Dan Willis and Mike McGinnis along with the trumpet of Russ Johnson.”
-- Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Prices are so high in Manhattan, musicians can't afford to live there anymore. That's the story, anyway, and it is the economic factor that produced the inspiration for this major symphonic work. With so many musicians moving to Brooklyn, including composer/guitarist Chris Jentsch, the players and landscape have merged into artistic impressions that don't involve famous nightclubs or towering skyscrapers, chaotic traffic or neon in the night. For Jentsch, Brooklyn is expressed in layered textures. These soundscapes stretch out like broad brushstrokes of horizontal color. Some smooth, some soft, some deep, some shiny. There is a sprinkling of atonality and splashes of clashing chords, too. But overall the suite rises out of musical elements working together, not fighting each other. Structurally there are five major pieces plus two mood-connecting interludes. The piano-less instrumentation is for five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones and a rhythm section of bass, drums and Jentsch on guitar. Sometimes "Brooklyn Suite" is performed in concert by his quartet. The composition could easily be expanded to a full symphonic treatment, as well. While someone searches around for the money to do that, consider this recording as the subway version - maybe not as luxurious as a symphonic limo but full of movement, nonetheless. grade: A. style: classical/jazz.”
 -- CHUCK GRAHAM, Tuscon Citizen

“Guitarist Chris Jentsch has put together an ambitious big band recording that deserves comparisons to Maria Schneider's work… Made up of a series of veering themes and movements the Suite is replete with embracing and dramatic movements, mixed with some virile soloing. The star of the show, however, is the entire ensemble, as they flow freely from one theme to the next, blending moods like a long undulating river. Thoughtful and memorable music by a musician that needs to be heard from.”
-- George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com

“Guitar man leads a big band sounding crew through an impressionistic work that Jentsch renders how he feels Brooklyn sounds… Following the artsy side of the big band vibe, this crew delivers a fine work that was made for real listening.”
-- Midwest Record

“The band & Chris compliment each other with a distinctive modern jazz style & sound as well as a smooth harmonic-melodic concept, compelling horn lines, & certainly a big sound. Jentsch's compositional style is both fresh & crisp with a certain positive bent towards the abstract, i.e. Gil Evans, et al.”
-- George W. Carroll, The Musicians' Ombudsman

“Chris Jentsch’s name is new to us, but the guitarist has been working in New York for close to a decade now. Brooklyn Suite, Jentsch’s vibrant, impressionistic new big-band effort, shows that his time in the city has been far from idle.”
--Time Out New York

“Recommended New Listening”
Jentsch Group Large
Brooklyn Suite (Fleur de Son Classics)

-Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor,
AllAboutJazz-New York

Brooklyn Suite  ***
“As a portrait of Brooklyn, guitarist and composer Chris Jentsch's "Brooklyn Suite" (Fleur de Son Jazz) makes the case for an adventurous scene - jazz, rock and modern European classical music coming together. …Jentsch solos on "Inside (interlude)," showing a lyrical, Jim Hall side, but elsewhere he displays a bolder Jimi Hendrix side.”
-- Owen Cordle, The Raleigh News & Observer

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