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January/February 2000

Ingrid Jensen
Higher Grounds

Ingrid Jensen is a mesmerizing musician. Equally accomplished on trumpet and fluegelhorn, she is constantly expressive and remarkably unpredictable. On this adventurous issue, titled to portray the many directions of jazz, the main focus is progressive hard bop. Jensen imprints muscular horn runs and lucid liquidity throughout, her open tones as lush and round as vintage Freddie Hubbard, her mute work reminiscent of Miles Davis, her bop chops true to Woody Shaw. A lithe fluency permeates each of the nine tracks, created with colleagues Gary Thomas on tenor sax and flute, David Kikoski on piano and Fender Rhodes, Ed Howard on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums. Opening with "Seventh Avenue," Jensen and crew create a musical traffic jam where harmony collides with intentional dissonance. The title track employs muted trumpet teamed with the Fender, while Chick Corea's "Litha" opens ethereally, then swings hard. An effective pairing of muted trumpet and flute conveys the emotional quotient of "Longing," as does the open trumpet-flute counterpoint on "Touch Her Soft Lips and Part." The normally graceful "I Fall in Love Too Easily" is instead executed with eloquently bold vigor. The melodic complexity of the last two tracks, Freddie Hubbard's "Dear John" and Maggi Olin's "Land of Me," provide the most stretch-out space for this remarkable young horn player, and prove both her depth and brilliance.

Originally published in January/February 2000
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