More Topics... reviews and quotes:
"Electric guitarist Chris Jentsch leads a left of center band of Michel Gentile/fl, Michael McGinnis/cl, Jason Rigby/sa, David Smith/tp-fh, Brian Drye/tb, Jacob Sacks/p, Jim Whitney/b and Eric Halvorson/dr through a series of themes associated with various parts of this country’s past. Conducted by JC Sanford, this band is recorded in concert at the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY back in 2016. The topics, such as McCarthyism (“Dominos”), Lincoln’s assassination (“Meeting at Surratt’s”) and the creation of the Statue of Liberty (“Tempest-Tost”) have lyrical themes, usually with floating flutes that gently coalesce to a climax, with Sack’s piano, Rigby’s tenor and Jentsch’s guitar giving some solo space, respectively. Halvorson delivers a militaristic beat to “Meeting…” and gently coaxes the climax of “Suburban Diaspora.” The intuitive horns wax and wane, ebb and flow throughout, mostly on “1491” and “Manifest Destiny” sort of like the wandering spirit of the explorers and pioneers. Thoughtful jazz chamber moods.
- George W. Harris | JazzWeekly
"O's Notes: Topics in American History is a symphonic musical adventure without words. Close your eyes and let the music illustrate according to the titles. The liner notes include a description of Jentsch's thoughts while composing each selection and serve as a great aid in bringing things into focus. The mystery, intensity, mood and spirit surrounding each event is captured musically similar to a cinematic soundscape. Conductor JC Sanford leads a large ensemble that includes Jason Rigby (sax), Michel Gentile (fl) and Jentsch (g)."
- D. Oscar Groomes | O's Place Jazz Newsletter
JENTSCH GROUP NO NET/Topics in American History: Given rise by a commission from Chamber Music America, this set is some truly first class egghead chamber jazz that tells a story. An impressionistic set that shows guitar man Jentsch earns his money the hard way---by really putting in the time and exercising the chops, this broadly sweeping set is highly recommended for any fans for sitting down listening music. Some stuff defies all boundaries and this is one of those sets that grandly knows how to chart its own course without losing you in the process. (Blue Schist)
- Midwest Record [scroll down]