This is a nice album that should have been nicer. Ingrid Jensen possesses a magnetic, clarion sound on both trumpet and flugelhorn and plays lines that make you sit straight up. On the title track she floats long exhalations, all implying existential choices. She plays “There Is No Greater Love” muted, like Miles Davis, but hers is the ritardando version, more pensive than the one on Four & More.
Yet At Sea is a scattered statement, less than the sum of its parts. Most of the arrangements feel dense and busy. Geoffrey Keezer’s role in Jensen’s quartet is apparently to fill all available spaces with pretty electric keyboard twinklings and twitterings. Jensen’s lyricism on “Everything I Love” is lucid, but the elements employed to contemporize Cole Porter—digital delay on Jensen, synthesized orchestrations, hand claps, overdubbed lando rhythms—compete for attention rather than blend to a new whole.
The underlying problem with this recording is its sound. The arrangements feel so crowded because there is inadequate discrimination among instruments and no air around them. The ArtistShare label has quickly become important for its direct marketing innovations. But the fact that so much autonomy is granted to the ArtistShare entrepreneur/artist means that production values are variable.