Nordic Connect
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Nordic Connect


Band Jazz Acoustic


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Nordic Connect "Flurry"



As a special side project to her ongoing work as a composer-bandleader and as a featured soloist in the Maria Schneider Orchestra, trumpeter/composer Ingrid Jensen has joined forces in co-leading an exceptional new release with her sister Christine Jensen – a gifted alto saxophonist, accomplished composer-arranger and bandleader in her own right – and Swedish pianist-composer and bandleader Maggi Olin – a former schoolmate of Ingrid’s at the Berklee College of Music.

Along with Ingrid’s husband Jon Wikan (an Alaskan-born Norwegian-blooded drummer) and Swedish bassist Mattias Welin, they explore their Nordic Connection on the new CD Flurry on this ambitious new ArtistShare release. As with Jensen’s 2006 release At Sea, her latest is available exclusively at

Ingrid explains, “One of the motivations for this project is that I always wanted to hear a musical meeting between Christine and Maggi, because they’re coming from similar directions with their writing. The idea was to get them together with Jon, who is the kind of drummer who is not afraid to swing but is also flexible enough to bring that very open-ended, coloristic feeling on the kit that blends so well with the ‘happy-sad’ Swedish jazz sound.”

That undercurrent of melancholy can be heard on evocative pieces like Olin’s gentle, ECM-ish “Flurry,” which opens the collection; and Christine’s hauntingly beautiful “Seafever,” which is underscored by Wikan’s blend of drums and cajon [a hand percussion instrument normally associated with Peruvian music and more recently, Flamenco]. Ingrid turns in a particularly poignant solo on “Seafever,” while Christine delivers a bittersweet touch on soprano sax.

Wikan’s swing side comes into play on Olin’s “Sweet Dream,” which opens on a darkly introspective note and builds intensity throughout; as well as on Christine’s buoyant waltz-time melody, “Sweet Adelphi.” Ingrid contributes the atmospheric “Things I Love,” which again has Wikan playing cajon along with his drum kit and also serves as a vehicle for some of the trumpeter’s most daring soloing on the album. Ingrid’s other composition, “Seascape,” is an evocative interlude imbued with feelings of nostalgia and longing. (The song has since been developed into an epic twenty-minute piece for sextet and voice.)

Christine Jensen offers the aggressive groover “Cowboy,” which is fueled by Wikan’s muscular backbeat alongside Maggi’s comping on Fender Rhodes piano. Ingrid reaches for her wah-wah pedal and joins with Christine’s urgent alto work for some tight harmony lines on the front line. Wikan is also turned loose for a remarkably melodic drum solo near the end of this infectious, hard-hitting number. The highly evocative suite-like closer, Olin’s “Breathe/Quadr’l,” begins on a tender, zen-like note before segueing to a stirring, unaccompanied soprano sax segment by Christine. She is then joined in a sparse duet by bassist Welin before the piece shifts into a jaunty swing section that culminates with the Juno Award winning trumpeter Ingrid putting a post-bop exclamation point on the proceedings.

With the triumvirate of Ingrid, Christine and Maggi all contributing equally, Nordic Connect is indeed a cooperative band. “In many ways, we’re family,” says Ingrid. “With Christine, there’s obviously the sister bond. We have a real psychic thing that goes on when we play that is hard to describe. And with Maggi there’s a real deep trusting relationship as well. I’ve known her for almost twenty years now, going back to our Berklee days, and I know she appreciates the way that I like to take certain liberties. She leaves a lot of space in her compositions to let me do what I’m going to do with it. She listens to whatever I’m playing and then shapes it with her comping. It’s a very organic process.”

Much of the music on Flurry was originally conceived as loose sketches and later developed on the road during the band’s two-week tour of Scandinavia back in January of 2007. And while there are bright moments like “Sweet Adelphi” and the poignant heartland melody “Garden Hour,” an undercurrent of melancholy permeates other pieces like the beautiful “Sweet Dream,” the haunting “Seafever” and the misterioso “Things I Love.” As Ingrid says, “That’s the Nordic sensibility coming through. It’s more of a romantic ballad approach, as opposed to the more aggressive and hard-charging ‘Let’s hit and go’ attitude that you get in New York.”

That spirit of openness can be heard throughout Flurry. It’s an auspicious debut by a daring collective that is truly on one accord.