"The beauty of jazz is that, while there are definite forms, there are no rules; there's a new generation of artists working within the parameters of jazz who also work outside the square, like the young Englishman Jamie Cullum or America's Norah Jones; in Australia, it's an artist like Bonnie J Jensen that's making it happen."
Michael Smith, The Drum Media, AUSTRALIA, July 2004
"Jensen is that rarest of things in Australian singers - a full blooded, grown up sexy woman unafraid to let her passions and eroticism inform her music in a sophisticated way, beyond the usual raunchy, bluesy stuff."
SHANE NICOLS, THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, FEBRUARY 2004
"A Choice Modern Vocal Album Focused on the Moment."
"Bonnie J Jensen exudes a rich vocal quality she can use freely in all ranges. In "Blue Joy" she displays her ability to sing any type of song. Young jazz fans will find this album very appealing. She is that rare kind of talent
who is both a superb singer and a talented original composer. Knowing how popular she is, the Grand Hyatt at Roppongi Hills featured her last year soon after opening. They knew the Japanese guests would appreciate her talent.
She has sung at first class hotels and top lounges around the world, but you will not find her singing with the exaggerated shouts or the fanciful coquetry that club singers are prone to. In that regard, she surely has the grace of someone from 'down under'.
Her very fine backing consists of tenor sax, flute, flugel horn, trumpet, guitar and rhythm section, whose splendid solo performances can be heard throughout. In that
sense too, I rate this highly as a choice example of a modern vocal album."
KEIICHI BABA, SWING JOURNAL, Japan, April 2004
Bonnie J Jensen has established herself as a respected and versatile acoustic-orientated jazz musican - a singer, pianist, and songwriter who has developed her talents through prestigious long-term residencies, into a career of professional engagements worldwide.
Her first notable public recognition in the jazz world came in 2001, shortly after the release of her debut CD Lucky So & So which received vast critical acclaim and quickly rose to NO. 3 in the Australian Independent Jazz Release Charts. This immaculately produced recording of jazz standards and two originals places her warm and stylish vocals to the fore, and also features the talents of other leading Australian musicians: Michael Bartolomei, David Stratton, Nick McBride, Steve Brien, Graham Jesse and Casey Greene.
The American music critic David Nathan, who has written scores of reviews and liner notes for luminaries including Shirley Horn and Roberta Flack, wrote the following in his column on www.allaboutmusic.com in July 2001:
"Maintaining the high standards set by the La Brava label with its previous releases, Jensen delivers a scintillating, expressive 55 minutes of music. Possessing a voice with excellent range, she distributes emotions tailored to the message she wants each song to convey to the listener, whether the tune be an original or standard - the mark of a good jazz singer."
November 2003, whilst home in Sydney, Bonnie recorded and co-produced her second CD Blue Joy, a soulful mix of popular tunes, and originals, inspired by her travels.
This album contains more original material, displays her development as a writer and arranger, and was devised with a coherent theme - love's inherent dichotomy of ecstasy and anguish.
Blue Joy quickly climbed in the Australian Independent Jazz Charts' Top 10 and was also immediately repackaged and released by a Japanese distributor. A feature article about Bonnie appeared in the April '04 issue of Japan's Swing Journal - the magazine for jazz devotees, and Blue Joy rose to No. 8 in their (vocal) charts for the month of June 2004, placing Bonnie along-side signed, well-marketed artists such as Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Keiko Lee. These charts are based on sales of CDs at 9 major record stores in major cities throughout Japan.
Shane Nicols of The Australian Financial Review wrote the following in February 2004:
"Jensen's second album is a confident, bold and coherent statement of a musician (singer, player, composer and arranger) hitting stride. Jensen is that rarest of things - a full blooded, grown up sexy woman unafraid to let her passions and eroticism inform her music in a sophisticated way, beyond the usual raunchy, bluesy stuff. She's a nightclub singer who belongs in gowns, not jeans, and harkens back to a school and a style that is both timeless and increasingly rare.
Performing with her on a selection of her own tunes and such wonders as 'This Masquerade', 'Every Breath You Take', and 'Just The Two of Us' are a crack line-up of jazz musicians that frame this music in just the lustrous and vivid colours it needs. It's a very even album, with no missteps, beginning with Bonnie's own 'Tokyo Skies', a remarkably frank and modern exposition of desire and neediness, plumbing a well of loneliness in 'Sharing The Night With the Blues', 'Good Morning Heartache' and 'Baby Come Home' - canny choices all of them - and topped with a radical reworking of Stevie Wonder's 'Creepin', replete with Jensen's own rap fantasia at the close. Her reharmonisation of Sting's classic is beautiful and logical, finding new layers in a tune that always hinted they were there."
The official launch of Blue Joy was held at Sydney's famous jazz venue - The Basement where Bonnie and her sextet - a handful of Australia's top Jazz musicians (Jonathan Zwartz, Fabian Hevia, Michael Bartolomei, Craig Walters, Jon Pease and Don Rader) played to a full house on a cold, rainy night.
While many artists talk about listening to their parent's records when they were young, Bonnie's introduction to jazz was somewhat unconventional. She was in her early 20 when she first encountered the genre that she is now so passionate about. Her initial discovery was the music of the Brazilian master, Antonio Carlos Jobim, ironically whilst she was living in Germany. The purity, sophistication and complexity of the Brazilian music resonated with her, and its influence is audible in her writing and arranging. "I love finding a damn good song that's really well loved, blurring the genres, and giving it a new reincarnation", says Jensen.
"The beauty of jazz is that, while there are definite forms, there are no rules. The fact that there's a new generation of artists working within the parameters of jazz who also work outside the square, like the young Englishman Jamie Cullum or America's Norah Jones, and are becoming incredibly successful, tells you something really exciting is happening, and in Australia, it's an artist like Bonnie J Jensen that's making it happen."
Michael Smith, The Drum Media, Australia, July 2004
Bonnie avoids falling back on the straight jazz singer's usual safe bets (scat singing, sole reference to standard songs, choosing instead to work over Latin, relaxed funk or minimalist slow-burn settings for original tunes and well-loved pop-songs, to which she gives her trademark acoustic jazz treatment.
"Her original songs are usually drawn from her own experiences. 'If I know I've got something burning in me, I just make myself sit down and manifest it.'
Her song Tokyo Skies on her latest album Blue Joy was written while she was performing in Japan in 2003. She walked the streets, relaxing after rehearsals, and watched people coming home from work. 'Sometimes I am inspired by the idea of writing in a particular meter, like writing a blues tune in three/four time', she says.
Bonnie also wrote a swing tune [The Flame] for Blue Joy. While her music echoes the sounds and musical stylings of another era, she says she wouldn't dare model herself on anyone else."
Troy Lennon, The Daily Telegraph, Australia, July 2004
See Bonnie's website for more information and reviews www.bonniejjensen.com
Bonnie's debut album 'Lucky So & So'is also for sale here - see www.cdbaby.com/jensen