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Tidal Currents: East Meets West

by Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra

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The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s seventh release features a commission between two of Canada’s most compelling writers for Big Band Jazz: Jill Townsend and Christine Jensen. The music born of this meeting reflects on the places that meant the most to them, especially the bodies of water that surrounded them both in their youth up until the present. Townsend captures images and sounds of her east coast upbringing, unfolding into Jensen's west coast childhood memories.

The music moves into the waters surrounding them at present, including Townsend's now west coast land and waterscape and Jensen's explorations of her Montreal environs on the powerful St-Lawrence seaway. They have blended their compositions into one suite with the WJO: Tidal Currents, an East meets West Collaboration. Both composers are featured as guest artists, with Jill Townsend as conductor and Christine Jensen as soprano saxophone soloist.


Inside the Wave (by Jill Townsend)

Inside the Wave was inspired by the rugged west coast and majestic ocean waves near Sooke, BC. The opening theme played by the saxes represents the waves as they uncurl and unfold onto the shore. An abrupt change of meter and feel midway through the movement emphasizes the unpredictable character of coastal weather.

Crossing Lachine (by Christine Jensen)

This is inspired by my current love for paddle boarding across the St Lawrence river right at the base of the Lachine Rapids in Montreal. During the summer, I let go with the most thrilling paddles on this majestic body of water, full of currents whirling around me. At the same time I am able to glide fast over them, while looking at stunning horizons at this unique vista on water.

Tidal Currents (by Jill Townsend)

Small waves washing over tiny rocks close to the shore are reimagined using the sounds of piano, bass, drums, and muted brass. As with tidal currents, the music also ebbs and flows. Cascading horns provide a backdrop for the beautiful sound of Christine Jensen’s soprano sax.

Rock Skipping Under The Half Moon (by Christine Jensen)

This composition is inspired by my birthplace of Sechelt, British Columbia. I practiced rock skipping there, on the beautiful Sechelt Inlet with the gorgeous coastal mountains in the shadows. This piece starts out with the shimmer sounds of the small inlet waves calling us down to the shoreline. With two notes, we start the practice of rock skipping. The theme also takes place over the swaying rhythms of a slow waltz that mimics the feel of lapping of waves on the shoreline. It gets extended, as I continue to climb intervallically with the lines, pulling them longer and higher, again alluding to achieving a longer row of rock skips with the end.


released February 2, 2024


East Meets West: Tidal Currents

Christine Jensen - alto /soprano saxophone
Neil Watson - alto saxophone
Niall Cade - tenor saxophone
Monica Jones - tenor saxophone
Kyle Wedlake - baritone saxophone

Joel Green - trombone
Jeremy Duggleby - trombone
Francois Godere - trombone
Isabelle Lavoie - trombone

Shane Hicks - trumpet
Jeni Taylor - trumpet
Richard Gillis - trumpet
Matthew Walden - trumpet

Will Bonness - piano
Karl Kohut - bass
Fabio Ragnelli - Drums
Larry Roy - guitar


Inside the Wave:
Trumpet solo (Matt Walden)
Drum solo (Fabio Ragnelli)

Tidal Currents:
Bass (Karl Kohut)
Soprano sax (Christine Jensen)

Crossing Lachine:
Drums (Fabio Ragnelli)
Tenor (Niall Cade)

Rocks Skipping Under the Half Moon:
Soprano Sax (Christine Jensen)


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Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra Winnipeg, Manitoba

Formed in 1997, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra (WJO) is Canada’s first community-based, non-profit professional jazz orchestra. The vision of the WJO is to be a leading performer, promoter and developer of big band music in Canada. The WJO performs an annual series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and is active in recording, composition, and outreach. ... more

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