Adding a Hint of Rock and Fusion to the Montreal International Jazz Festival

Christine and Ingrid Jensen Perform Guest Artist Ben Monder

Left to right: Ingrid Jensen and Christine Jensen. Photo Mathieu Rivard

Improvising jazz on one instrument is great, but improvising on several instruments all at once is another way for each musician to transmit their love for music to the audience.

Sisters Christine and Ingrid Jensen, along with a special guest Ben Monder, performed this past Friday at the L’Astral concert hall during the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Before the set began, the Vice President, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival, André Ménard walked onto the stage. Joining him was Christine Jensen who was receiving the Oscar Peterson Award in recognition for her contribution to the development of Canadian jazz.

“I would like to thank all the musicians in Montreal since most of the time, the best ones are from here,” Christine said.

The set began with the song “Blue Yonder,” which started with Ingrid playing a small flute, using the looping effect to help construct the melody’s foundation. This was followed by the snare drums being lightly played while the double bassist picked out multiple chords with Christine playing the alto saxophone.

The tempo changed to a light fast-paced drum beat, accompanied by Ingrid playing the same repetitive musical notes on her trumpet as Christine was on the alto saxophone.

Monder kicked off into a muted electric guitar solo, with a fast stream of chord changes, followed by the Jensen sisters softly playing their respective instruments in the background. This went on until Ingrid got the chance to perform a solo, playing several high and low notes.

The song ended with both Jensen sisters playing the same repetitive musical notes from the beginning, having every instrument winding down to a quiet tone, until the looping flute was only heard.

The most inspiring piece from the whole set was “Swirl Around.” For this tune, each instrument used distortion and feedback effect pedals, adding a touch of rock and fusion into their jazz sound.

The song began with the double bassist fingerpicking a repetitive chord progression, accompanied by Ingrid playing a mysterious note on her trumpet created from using the feedback pedal with a small mixer. This gave the audience the impression they had been escorted to a different side of the world of jazz.

Eventually, Christine joined Ingrid without using any effects on a soprano saxophone, simultaneously playing different musical notes with a loud tone.

The song went into a five second pause, as if it was going to progress the same way as it started. Instead, a clean distortion effect was added to the electric guitar solo that was accompanied by a continuous fast-shuffling drum beat.

The five second pause returned, giving the audience a chance to cheer and clap continuously, until Ingrid played the mysterious musical note that gave the signal to the other musicians to slowly wind down the volume on their instruments until the piece faded into silence.

Overall, the Jensen sisters and Monder delivered a great performance that combined rock and fusion elements into the jazz genre, showing the audience the endless possibilities of creating great music.

Christine and Ingrid Jensen with Ben Monder // Montreal International Jazz Festival // June 28th – July 8th//