Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is a fine disciple of the brass lineage of Miles Davis, Art Farmer and Woody Shaw – and she’s a selfless group player, so this collaboration with the powerful Scottish National Jazz Orchestra led by Tommy Smith represents plenty of give and take, even though she’s handed the Miles Davis role on the famous Miles Ahead music conceived in collaboration with the late Gil Evans.
Jensen exhibits a composer-like awareness of shape and narrative. The tracks appear in the same running order as on the original disc, and the arrangements are Gil Evans originals. You might wonder why anyone other than an arts marketeer looking for a sponsorship-tempting prestigious project would ever need a clone of the same classic without Miles Davis on it. But Jensen’s take on the music is often fascinating, and not in Davis’s shadow at all – listen to her haunted trilling sounds and achingly developed delivery on Maids of Cadiz over the famous Evans chord-clouds, her behind-the-beat feel on the Birth of the Cool-like title track, or her pure, pealing tones on Blues for Pablo, and you know that while this might be jazz-classical music, the interpreters are treating it as a personal creative opportunity, not a repeat performance with better recording technology.
Friday December 6, 2002