Reviews and Press Releases (scroll down for Articles and Interviews)
Featuring Jentsch Group No Net, Topics in American History is an hour-long chamber jazz work that abstracts Jentsch's impressions of various episodes in American history such as pre-Colombian North America, the Lincoln/Douglas Debates, and Manifest Destiny.
Michel Gentile (fl, afl), Michael McGinnis (cl, bcl), Jason Rigby (sop, ten), David Smith (trp, flg), Brian Drye (trb), Jacob Sacks (pno), Chris Jentsch (gtr), Jim Whitney (bs), Eric Halvorson (per), JC Sanford (con).
"(Jentsch) writes lavish suites – which he then plays with remarkable terseness and attention to detail. His narratives are vivid and often very funny. His latest, Topics in American History, couldn’t be more relevant. "
New York Music Daily
Topics in American History by Christopher Jentsch and Jentsch Group No Net has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America's 2015 New Jazz Works Program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
An epic CD/DVD package with a short live set video, alternate takes, slide show music vids, mash ups, a hi res FLAC version of the audio CD, and more, featuring Matt Renzi (tenor sax, clarinet, and alto flute), Jim Whitney (bass), and John Mettam (drums).
"(On Fractured Pop) Jentsch re-examines some of the same tunes that appeared on his large ensemble outings with a lean quartet... The title track, for instance, has a whole web of guitars, from acoustic strumming on the intro to clean electric lines played in unison with Renzi’s sax on the intricate head to Jentsch’s distortion-laced guitar solo. The moody and atmospheric ‘Radio Silence’ also makes use of crafty guitar overdubs throughout...‘Are You Bye?,’ Jentsch’s clever contrafact of ‘Bye Bye Blackbird,’ is underscored by Mettam’s supple brushwork and culminates in some fiery call-and-response between sax and guitar at the tag.... ‘Route 666,’ a hard-hitting groover with angular lines, is fueled by bassist Whitney and sparked by a twisted distorto solo from Jentsch.... Tenor sax and distorted guitar lines weave together near the end of ‘Meeting at Surratt’s’, building to an ecstatic crescendo.”
— Bill Milkowski (from the liner notes)
- Woodrow Wilkins
- New York Music Daily
- Jazz Podium
- Jazz Weekly
- The Vinyl District
- Fabrizio Dadò (Axe Magazine)
Substantial interview at Guitar Club
Commissioned by The New York State Council on the Arts and premiered in NYC at The Kitchen, composer/guitarist Chris Jentsch’s Cycles Suite featuring Mike Kaupa is a meditation on one’s own life cycle and the important connections with the cycles of others.
"The interesting thing is that he's using avant-garde techniques, but in a traditional framework…”
– Will Friedwald (New York Sun)
“In its scope and detail and eternally recurring inner logic, Cycles Suite may be the Finnegans Wake of big-band jazz. …a moving and elegiac journey through complex emotional terrain.”
- Richard Gehr (from the liner notes)
- Wall Street Journal review
- Lucid Culture blog
- Cadence Magazine review
- Jazz Inside review
- Will Friedwald, NY Sun
- Chuck Graham - tucsonstage.com
- Richard Kamins - Hartford Courant
- Jazz.com track review: “Route 666”
- Sunday Inquirer (Philadelphia)
- Jordan Richardson blog
- Michael J. West - Washington City Paper
...more Cycles Suite reviews HERE
Cycles Suite was commissioned by the Individual Artists Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, was made possible in part through the sponsorship of The Field, and was partially developed during a residency at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming.
Commissioned by American Composers Forum and premiered in NYC at Symphony Space, composer-guitarist Chris Jentsch’s Brooklyn Suite is a feature for his electric guitar sounds and textures that combine with the colors of the large ensemble to musically depict the composer’s life since he moved to Brooklyn in 1999.
Reviews at AllAboutJazz.com:
...more Brooklyn Suite reviews HERE
Jentsch conducts large jazz ensemble compositions
in a live concert recording featuring the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band. Rare CD Bonus Track included from the Blue Schist archives.
"Top Ten Selection/Autumn 1999 and Winter 2000..."
- WXXI Jazz Overtime
"As a composer, he has written large ensemble pieces that
fall in a Gil Evans/Maria Schneider vein."
(Jentsch's Miami Suite) is contemporary jazz expression at
the very finest!
"On Media Event Jentsch combines graceful dexterity with introspective intensity, an exceptional new talent on the instrumental guitar front."
- 20th Century Guitar Magazine
"Jentsch displays contemporary guitar mastery throughout (Media Event). When you think of the traditions of the guitar in the late 20th century, emotion is the word that is often conjured.
For Jentsch, add intellect, substance, and style to that
Articles and Interviews
Composers and their favorite big band records...
...was the topic of a DownBeat feature article by Frank-John Hadley for which Chris' remarks were solicited along with almost 200 other composers. The resulting article is available on page 40 of the April 2010 DownBeat digital edition or you can read Chris' unexpurgated remarks..
Context Studios page and Jentsch Group slide shows…
…for the live videotaping event reviewed above. When given the arrow in the center of each slide show, click to expand. [Scroll down for the second slide show.]
Jentsch on Retrospective Series
A DownBeat feature article by Jon Ross on Chris' activities circa June 2010.
Large Ensembles: Is There a Place in This Large Music World?
AllAboutJazz.com feature on large Jazz ensembles (August 2009). Fairly lengthy piece on contemporary big bands by R.J. DeLuke with my comments interspersed with those of many of my colleagues who run other bands. The section with my comments is here on page 4 (scroll down).
Jentsch featured in Scott Yanow's book The Great Jazz Guitarists
WKCR's The Musicians' Show - Guest DJ set list
The Wall Street Journal interviewed Chris Jentsch in May 2009 for an article entitled: "Not Your Grandpa’s Big Bands". The published article used just a few excerpts from the full interview and featured Jentsch as well as colleagues Darcy James Argue and Dave Binney.
Link to article: Wall Street Journal (pay wall)
Link to the unexpurgated interview: Wall Street Journal Interview
NewMusicBox.org interviewed Chris Jentsch on the occasion of the American Composers Forum Grant Announcement in 2002. The published article used just a few excerpts from the full interview and featured Jentsch as well as the other eleven composers selected for the grant.
Link to the actual article: NewMusicBox
Link to the unexpurgated interview: New Music Box Interview
Chris Jentsch: Cycles and Reflecting on the Journey by Ludwig vanTrikt (2010) extensive interview
Interview with Jazz & Tzaz (Greek magazine)
OTHER REVIEWS AND QUOTES
Jentsch displays contemporary guitar mastery throughout [his CD Media Event]. When you think of the traditions of the guitar in the late 20th century, ‘emotion’ is the word that is often conjured. For Jentsch, add intellect, substance, and style to that guitar-emotion definition – a delicacy and charm that spans the history of the music.
Skilled NYC electric guitarist recalls Bill Frisell's more aggressive side, both in his use of effects (distortion, delay, volume pedal) and in his jarringly inserted open-string notes. His work in acoustic settings ranges from straight-ahead and boppish to intense and driving, without ever getting totally 'out.'
Chris Jentsch is the most versatile and creative young guitarist I know of. His solid grasp of the jazz guitar tradition and strong personal musical vision are a rare combination. [His groups develop] a great rapport. On Media Event there is a lot of very high level playing going on.
—Bill Dobbins (Professor, Eastman School of Music)
Chris has the whole jazz and contemporary guitar scene covered, and is a great composer and arranger as well. ...a thoughtful player like Ed Bickert, only more contemporary. ...creative, fresh, very plush harmonies and new but very approachable melodies. Chris has a wonderful way of being outside but very inside at the same time. This stuff has to be heard and performed.
… a very promising guitarist. On "Exploring the Planet" Jentsch fires up his electric for a snaky, delay decorated solo. All kinds of cool noises come out of Jentsch’s guitar.
[Jentsch's composition] "Open the Bombay Doors" wails... [with] Jentsch's super crunchy guitar fuzzing away between the lines.
Clearly influenced by much of the history of jazz, Chris' music also embraces folk music from around the world, exploratory rock music textures, music of the ECM record label, and European Concert Music (particularly the Romantic and Twentieth Century periods). This eclectic mix similarly informs his personal approach to guitar playing which runs the gamut between Jimi Hendrix and Jim Hall.
—Ron Miller (Professor Emeritus, University of Miami School of Music)