Tim Jensen

A Mind For The Scenery

origin 82424


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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dave Dupont, One Final Note


On A Mind for the Scenery, Tim Jensen proves himself to be a multiple musical threat. He composed eight of the nine tracks, one including lyrics, and he arranged all of them. He performs on seven different reed instruments, unveiling them all within the first six tracks. And he even does a little singing. This cat deserves a couple union cards at least! For all his undeniable talent though, his insistence on putting this breadth on display within an hour's worth of music weakens his presentation. While there are an abundance of fine moments here, the session as a whole suffers from digressions. At the core of A Mind for the Scenery is Jensen's work with a mid-sized ensemble, ranging from the basic four horns with rhythm trio and expanding with the addition of a third reed and percussionist. This band of trumpet, trombone and reeds opens and closes the session, and provides the most scintillating music in between. The band's style ranges from a strutting opening "Sausage" to flowing free bop on "Fiasco" and the dirge "Felpham's Vale". Jensen and crew lend them their own distinctive touches, however. As an arranger, Jensen has a sure hand with the orchestral spice rack. He knows when to add a bit of heat, or some tangy harmonic rubs to offset the richness of his lines. The one cover, Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages", is given atmospheric treatment. It opens with a piquant chorale that gives way to the rhythm section of pianist Randy Porter, drummer Gary Hobbs and bassist Phil Baker. They deliver a floating performance that leads into Rob Scheps' tenor spot. Scheps' solo, like all his work here, is stellar. He rises above the rest on each of his spots with trenchant blowing. If Jensen had stuck to this mode throughout the session, this would be a notable date. But Jensen keeps steering off course. After the high-stepping opener, Jensen delivers the satiric show band piece "Rusty Rayburn and Piggy Lee". With its brassy opening and odd minor mode middle, complete with Mingus-like vocalizing, "Rusty..." is entertaining enough, but proves more a detour than a road to anywhere. The same goes for Jensen's piccolo feature, "Green Dolphin Street". It demonstrates the range of that pipsqueak horn... enough said. The most ambitious track is "Lament for Larry", with sincere philosophical lyrics sung by Brenda Baker in a voice best described as operatic gospel. Again this lament has its virtues, but seems out of place near the center of the program. It also signals a tapering off: Three of the four concluding tracks feature slow tempos, stalling any momentum that's built up. As mixed as I find the results of A Mind for Scenery are, it has certainly put Jensen on my musical map, and I will keep my eye out for future sightings.

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