Montreal-based saxophonist, composer and conductor Christine Jensen has been described as an original voice on the international jazz scene, and is regarded as one of Canada’s most compelling composers. She is a winner of the the Downbeat Critic’s Poll for Rising Star Big Band, Arranger, and Soprano Saxophonist, as well as being a recipient of the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s 2017 Oscar Peterson Prize. She currently leads her own jazz orchestra as well as other diverse ensemble projects featuring her saxophone playing.“Jensen writes in three dimensions, with a quiet kind of authority that makes the many elements cohere. Wayne Shorter, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler come to mind.” –Downbeat.
Jensen has won two Canadian Juno Awards for her recordings with her jazz orchestra, including Habitat (2014) and Treelines (2011). Four of her albums have been nominated for jazz album of the year with Quebec’s ADISQ awards. Habitat received five stars in Downbeat, along with being included at the top of several international critic’s polls, including Jazz Album of the Year in 2014. She was also profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered for her work with Habitat. She has topped 2014 critic’s polls for Album of the Year with CBC, Downbeat, NPR, Ottawa Citizen, and JazzTimes, as well as being included in the Downbeat Critic’s Polls for soprano saxophone, composer, and big band categories. A recipient of the Hagood Hardy Prize for jazz from SOCAN, she has also received two Quebec Opus Awards for her big band recordings and concerts.
As a leader, Jensen has released three small ensemble recordings between 2000 and 2006. Along with her sister, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, she has co-led Nordic Connect, where they released two recordings, as well as touring Canada, US, and Scandinavia numerous times. They are set to release a new album of workds for quintet entitled Infinitude featuring Ben Monder January 2017 on Whirlwind Records.
Jensen’s music has taken her all over the world, where she has received numerous commissions and conducting opportunites with jazz orchestras in Canada, the US and Europe. Recent residencies include University of North Florida, Dartmouth College and MacEwan University. Collaborators have included Phil Dwyer, Ben Monder, Gary Smuylan, Geoffrey Keezer, Lenny Pickett, Gary Versace, George Colligan, and Donny McCaslin. She has studied with Kenny Werner, Jim McNeely,Dick Oatts, Remi Bolduc and John Hollenbeck.
Jensen currently holds the position of conductor and composer with orchestre national jazz de Montréal. She teaches composition, saxophone and jazz ensembles at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and at the University of Sherbrooke.