› B i o g r a p h y
Chris Jentsch is a Brooklyn-based composer, bandleader, and guitarist working primarily in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisational Forms.
As a composer he has been the recipient of grants or commissions from
the Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble, the Penfield Commission Project, American
Composers Forum (2), the Composers Assistance Program of the American
Music Center (2), Meet the Composer, New York State Council on the Arts
(NYSCA), and the Ucross Foundation. Jentsch has recently completed a
series of concerts and recordings related to his NYSCA Commission: Cycles
Suite featuring Mike Kaupa, written for his 17-piece ensemble, Jentsch
Group Large. As a bandleader and sideman Jentsch has performed throughout
the Northeast and Florida. He appears as a guitarist on the CD John Cage,
Orchestral Works I (Mode Records, composer supervised first recordings).
Based in Brooklyn since 1999, his main ensemble is Jentsch Group in its
trio, quartet, chamber, or large configuration.
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Performances in New York City have included the Cornelia Street Café, Internet Café, World Turning Festival (Medicine Show Theatre), Symphony Space, the Rock Theatre, Barbès, the Knitting Factory, Tea Lounge, and the Kitchen.
His first CD Media Event was released in 1998 and features his working trio from that era. The second, Miami Suite (1999), presents original works for large jazz ensemble. Commissioned by American Composers Forum, Brooklyn Suite was released on Fleur de Son Records in 2007, and was a feature for the composer’s various electric guitar textures combined with the forces of his large ensemble. The concluding suite of a trilogy, Cycles Suite for Group Large was released in 2009. A Jentsch Group Quartet record, Fractured Pop, will follow next year.
Jentsch holds various liberal arts and jazz guitar degrees from Gettysburg
College, the New England Conservatory, and the Eastman School of Music,
including the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Composition from
the University of Miami. He is published by the University of Northern
Colorado Press, and Advance Music.
"Jentsch is more than just a seasoned musician; he's a composer who can
convey his ideas on a grand scale."
"Jentsch created a contrasted and kaleidoscopic patchwork with marvelous
melodies, splendid voicings and a skillful use of dynamics. The leader...can
produce vertiginous lines or eerie atmospherics, and his motifs often help
anchor the proceedings."
"Chris Jentsch's Brooklyn Suite (is) a complex-yet-highly rewarding suite
for 18-piece ensemble. Jentsch's ambitiousness pays off with a work that, while
at times bordering on the modal and even atonal, ends up overall as an accessible
album that will also appeal to crossover audiences due to the guitarist's fondness
for the rock music aesthetic."
"Here’s proof that music jazz critics term “important” can
also be awfully enjoyable."
"Chris Jentsch's seven-part homage to his home borough is at once grandly
orchestral and strikingly personal. The entire band seems to radiate from Jentsch's
pensive guitar pulse, blending jazz, classical and rock ideas into a multidimensional
reflection of everyday life."
- Howard Mandel
“Jentsch displays contemporary guitar mastery throughout (his CD Media Event). When you think of the traditions of the guitar in late 20th century, ‘emotion’ is the word that is often conjured. For Jentsch, add intellect, substance, and style to that guitar-emotion definition
– a delicacy and charm that spans the history of the music.”
“…a very promising guitarist. On ‘Exploring the Planet’ Jentsch fires up his electric for a snaky, delay decorated solo. All kinds of cool noises come out of Jentsch’s guitar.”
- CADENCE Magazine
“Skilled NYC electric guitarist recalls Bill Frisell's more aggressive side, both in his use of effects (distortion, delay, volume pedal) and in his jarringly inserted open-string notes. His work in acoustic settings ranges from straight-ahead and boppish to intense and driving, without ever getting totally ‘out.’”