Idaho-based saxophonist Brent Jensen seems to have found his musical soul-mates in the Pacific Northwest. For One More Mile, the College of Southern Idaho professor teams up with three of Seattle, Washington's finest?pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop?for an intriguing straight-ahead set of standards and originals.
Jensen is a well-rounded improviser who can get things cooking in a variety of styles and tempos. With his warm-toned soprano saxophone front and center, he moves easily from a laid-back flow ("Sweet and Lovely") to a more hard-driving, angular approach ("Punt"). The constant in his playing, however, is a propensity to keep the music swinging.
Jensen and Anschell converse thoughtfully without the support of bass and drums on "Alone Together." The spontaneous interaction between the two moves gracefully. Anshcell?as prolific a composer as he is a pianist?contributes the title track and "Foresaken," two of the more pensive compositions on the disc.
Johnson and Bishop provide a solid foundation throughout. The intuitive rhythm duo creates a free flowing ruckus on "Punt" and digs in hard on Johnson's own "E.J.". Johnson is a dynamic bassist who solos with punchy lyricism. Bishop uses dynamics to create a fluid wash of sound from the drums.
One More Mile has a cohesive feel from start to finish. As a quartet, Jensen and company sound like an established working group. The music is lively, inventive and beckons for repeated listening.