CD Reviews: Jentsch Expands from Quartet but Keeps the Playing Fresh

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'Brooklyn Suite'

Jentsch Group Large (Fleur de Son Jazz)

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 start the suite. By the time the suite reaches "Follow That Cab," the melodic hints are well established and emerge as bits of development. …