Brooklyn Suite

Jentsch Group Large

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Brooklyn Suite Review

by Alex Henderson

During New York City's Rudy Giuliani/Michael Bloomberg era, the name "Brooklyn" became increasingly synonymous with music. The Big Apple became considerably safer, but it also became much more gentrified and even pricier than it had been in the '80s; thus, Brooklyn became the borough of choice for countless musicians who felt they had been totally priced out of Manhattan (not that Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island are cheap -- they're just less exorbitant than Manhattan). One of those Brooklyn residents who has felt creatively inspired by his adopted borough is jazz guitarist Chris Jentsch, who moved to Brooklyn in 1999 (he grew up in southern New Jersey closer to Philadelphia) and recorded Brooklyn Suite live at Symphony Space on February 27, 2005. The pieces that comprise Jentsch's Brooklyn Suite were originally played by his quartet, but for this concert, he reworked them for a big-band setting -- and the big band that Jentsch leads includes four trumpeters, four trombonists, five reeds, and a pianoless rhythm section. That is 16 musicians altogether (17 if you count conductor J.C. Sanford), but thankfully, Jentschs guitar never gets lost in the crowd. As a guitarist, he still has enough room to stretch out and say what he needs to on a post-bop/fusion album (Jentsch has jazz, rock, and Euro-classical influences) that ranges from the cerebral and the complex to the melodically infectious. All of the instrumentals on this 60-minute disc can stand on their own; nonetheless, it's best to hear Brooklyn Suite as a whole in order to fully appreciate all of the thoughts and feelings that Brooklyn inspires on this noteworthy CD.

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