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June 2004

Tim Jensen
A Mind for the Scenery
Origin Records

A Mind for the Scenery (Origin), from Portland, Ore., woodwind player Tim Jensen, offers a potpourri of styles, from funk to funereal to free, and there's not a dull moment on it. Its fine soloists tend to favor the mainstream post-Coltrane modal/hard bop approach when not taking the occasional free-jazz flight. But Jensen's arrangements of his own compositions, along with "On Green Dolphin Street" and Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages," demonstrate a quirky imagination that keeps the interest high. His chart on the former tune, in which the melody is doubled in the piccolo and bass, is but one case in point. The Dylan song begins chorale style, with a dissonant horn choir underneath the bass clarinet, before shifting into tempo for the solos. And Jensen's "Rusty Rayburn and Piggy Lee" turns out to be an altered blues of 11 bars only. Although it features a nice small "big band" sound (augmented at times by voices), it also finds a place for some distant shouts and a canonlike section superimposed over an ostinato bass line.

Originally published in June 2004
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