Ingrid Jensen - trumpet and effects
Steve Treseler - tenor sax, clarinet/bass clarinet (4)
Geoffrey Keezer - piano
Martin Wind - double bass
Jon Wikan - drums
Katie Jacobson - voice (3, 4)
Christine Jensen - soprano (1)
Tracks 1-4 & 7-9 recorded at Robert Lang Studios, Shoreline, WA
(March 2, 2015)
Engineered by Reed Ruddy
Tracks 5 and 10 recorded live at The Royal Room, Seattle, WA
(March 2, 2015)
Engineered by Jim Wilke
Audio recording courtesy of NPR
Track 6 recorded at the Ingrid Jensen residence, Ossining, NY
Mixed at SophiaHat Studios, Seattle, WA, by Chris Spencer
Mastered by Ross Nyberg at Nyberg Mastering
Produced by Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Original Album Artwork - Mariana Meraz
Kenny Wheeler Photo - Zak Shelby-Szyszko
Band Photos - Jim Levitt
Liner notes by Nick Smart
released October 26, 2018
ABOUT THE ALBUM
For trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist/clarinettist Steve Treseler, paying tribute to the late Kenny Wheeler was a calling. The Canadian-born, British-based composer/trumpeter has almost incalculably influenced generations of musicians, working alongside a who’s who of artists including Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, John Taylor and Norma Winstone – and a famously unassuming persona belied his unequivocal prominence from the mid-1970s onwards as a free-spirited jazz pioneer.
Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler reinterprets works from his prolific catalog honed from “a list of around thirty tunes we wanted to do,” recalls Treseler. “The news of Kenny’s death had a big effect on me and I reached out to Ingrid about putting together a tribute concert, and that conversation evolved into making a record. Ingrid and I are both devoted Kenny fans and we both had the opportunity to work with him in person. Ingrid’s band – Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Martin Wind (bass) and Jon Wikan (drums) – was playing at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, so we booked two nights at Seattle’s Royal Room, as well as the studio session. Between the shows, which were featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America, we tracked the album (with guest saxophonist Christine Jensen and vocalist Katie Jacobson).” The energy of those performances is brought together here.
“With this fabulous band of great improvising contributors who lifted the music to new heights and gave their all on every tune, this was a journey that I never expected and will never forget,” enthuses Ingrid. “It was both an honor and a thrill to take flight with these wonderful pieces of music written by the great Kenny Wheeler. Having been one of the lucky ones who studied and spent time with him, I feel blessed to have had this little moment to record these pieces in honor of his lengthy legacy.”
They were keen to revisit Wheeler’s music from a fresh perspective. “Sometimes players approach it quite delicately, not getting the energy and power,” notes Treseler, “but with this rhythm section, we weren’t risking being too precious – it became quite hard-hitting and grooving. Kenny described his music as having ‘a touch of melancholy and a touch of chaos’.”
Jensen’s pacey, resonant arrangement of ‘Foxy Trot’ finds trumpet and tenor boisterously vying for position as sister Christine colors on soprano. Jensen’s own distinctive tone can shift to reflect Wheeler’s forlorn phrasing, and fluctuating meters in her ‘Kind Folk’ reading provide a buoyant swell for dual horns and fluid soloing. Wheeler’s characteristic wordless vocals feature in Treseler’s fizzing take on ‘546’ and the varietal textures of ‘Gentle Piece – Old Ballad’, while Jensen’s spacial yet intricately-rhythmed arrangement of ‘Everybody’s Song But My Own’ spotlights mellifluous tenor. ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ (originally a Wheeler and John Taylor duet) is blithely portrayed through rippling trumpet, sax and piano; and live cuts of ‘Old Time’ and ‘Foxy Trot’ capture this project’s contemporary fervency, confirming the ongoing relevance of Kenny Wheeler’s output.
“Together with my fabulous collaborator Steve Treseler, I’m elated to have been given this window in time to pay homage to the gentle, yet fierce genius of such a legendary master”, says Jensen. “After decades of listening to, studying and playing Kenny’s music, I still feel like a beginner in relation to my comprehension of how far-reaching his musical spirit truly goes. It is an endless and timeless legacy, and worthy of intense study by any aspiring musician in search of a creative mentor. Eternal gratitude to all who helped bring this vision to light.” “He’s unmistakable – in a category of one”, asserts Treseler. “You have jazz styles like swing or be-bop, and some artists are just their own thing, like Mingus, Ellington, Monk – and Kenny has got that. Defined by a host of elements, not least the haunting timbre of his instrument and that ECM spaciousness, he really developed his own harmonic language. Invisible Sounds has given us a deeper understanding of his music, with our own stamp on it. If more people discover Kenny Wheeler as a result, that’s all good with us.”
"She's [Jensen] incorporated his [Wheeler's] balletic leaps into her own voice and repays her debt to hism with performances that find the heart of the late trumpeter's distinctive compositions."
★★★★ DownBeat Magazine
"Jensen and Treseler's album is a beautiful testament to this self-effacing maestro [Wheeler]."
★★★★ 1/2 All About Jazz
"Jensen shows unexpected variety, from even tempered underplay to some unexpected Ellington growls and hues on 'Old Time'."
★★★★ DownBeat Magazine
"The qualities of Wheeler's music - chaos and melancholy - feature evocatively in the spirited arrangements. A fine celebration."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"A fine example of symbiosis both collective (between all members of the group) and stylistic (between the performers and the original music of Kenny Wheeler)."
"Refiguring Wheeler's tune across space and time and rehabilitating his unassuming musical reputation with some agitation."
★★★★ DownBeat Magazine
"A magnificent band of musicians who have faithfully captured the spirit of Kenny Wheeler."
"Jensen is a truly remarkable player."
Bebop Spoken Here
"Lyrical and songlike, whether moving at a quick clip or drifting as slowly as cloud cover."
New York Times
Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler create a musical playground of complex, rich arrangements and fine melodies.”
“This quintet seems, on the surface, to underscore the writerly aspect of Wheeler’s legacy, framing their improvisation in meticulously scored arrangements. Listen closely, however, and it’s clear that the structures are merely springboards, providing melodic momentum for the soloists’ personal inventions.”
A subtle, but nonetheless rich album.”
“An affectionate and respectful tribute to a musician [Wheeler] with his own unmistakeable style.”
"The band put their own stamp on it [Wheeler's work] and provide a totally fresh perspective. The result is inspiring, energetic and often hard-hitting."