NettavisenLivsstil - Norwegian blog
Tor Hammerø

Chris Jentsch - never heard of him before? Then that makes two of us, but the American guitarist, composer and bandleader shows us quickly that he has a lot of good at heart. 

You don't have to have lived in New York City for a long time to understand that the amount of extraordinary jazz musicians is huge. One does not have to have stayed there at all in fact - it is more than sufficient to follow that scene from anywhere on the globe. The evidence flows incessantly and this encounter with Jentsch and his Group No Net is another example. 

Here we are talking about a nonet - not a traditional big band, but a nine piece ensemble especially put together to interpret his Chamber Music America commission Topics in American History. Several aspects of this music and this project reminds me of Trondheim Jazzorkester actually. 

In the U.S. there are also opportunities for getting funds for such works. Jentsch has been clever and accomplished in that respect - he is a good researcher while at the same time he is obviously a skilled composer and organizer. This is his fourth suite and this time, Jentsch, who also has a degree in the subject, has been inspired by important events in American history. 

Jentsch has taken inspiration from the whole modern jazz tradition, from rock, world music and classical music, and put it together for a well and good hour of music that we get to enjoy from the premiere at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn in December 2016, in the neighborhood where Jentsch has been living for 20 years. 

Apart from saxophonist Jason Rigby and pianist Jacob Sacks, who have worked a lot with our own Brooklyner Eivind Opsvik, there are other new names for me. Highly skilled gentlemen both as ensemble players and soloists - five winds and four in the rhythm section. 

For each of the seven movements, the historian Jentsch has written a small text explaining why he has chosen exactly these events. This has become a pleasant and exciting meeting with a new voice in so many ways.