#WomenInMusic Spotlight: A gender-equal big band led by Christine Jensen

A gender-equal big band led by Canadian composer Christine Jensen


The idea for = Jazz Orchestra started with Jazzfest’s programming team: I pitched Christine Jensen on an all-women big band and Christine said, “No, but I do want to do a gender-equal big band.”

That was her response, and I’m glad she said that. We offered to commission the concert—with Jensen as musical director of an 18-piece jazz orchestra—and together we got to booking musicians for the project.

Jensen suggested a lot of young players for the project—some youthful fire for the band. With some exceptions, it’s on the younger side featuring Claire Devlin from Ottawa, Anna Webber (see: Anna Webber’s Simple Trio, June 21 at 6pm) and JUNO Award-winner Alison Au in the saxophone section.

Based in Montreal since 1994, Christine is quite familiar with Ottawa jazz talent, as she’s appeared regularly at our festivals and music venues. A number of Jensen’s closest collaborators and Ottawa-based players got the call for = Jazz Orchestra’s TD Ottawa Jazz Festival premiere.

Musical Director, saxophone – Christine Jensen
piano – Marianne Trudel
bass – Adrian Vedady
drums – Rich Irwin
guitar – Steve Bilodeau
alto – Tara Davidson
alto – Allison Au
tenor – Anna Webber
tenor – Claire Devlin
trumpet – Jocelyn Couture
trumpet – Nick Dyson
trumpet – Emily Denison
trumpet – Rebecca Hennessy
trombone – Mark Ferguson
trombone – Kelsey Grant
trombone – William Carn
bass trombone – Colin Murray
bari – Richard Page