Bonnie J Jensen | The Sapphire Tree

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AUSTRALIA - New South Wales

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Jazz: Smooth Jazz Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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The Sapphire Tree

by Bonnie J Jensen

A vocal and instrumental tour de force. The brilliant musicianship of her band compliments Bonnie's soulful interpretations and unique approaches to her diverse selection of songs, including three engaging originals.
Genre: Jazz: Smooth Jazz
Release Date: 

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1. The Sapphire Tree
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6:43 $0.99
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For
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7:08 $0.99
3. Colombus
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7:23 $0.99
4. A Night In Tunisia
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5:17 $0.99
5. Aeroblue
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7:22 $0.99
6. Night and Day
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4:47 $0.99
7. Little Wing
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5:38 $0.99
8. Neon Soliloquy
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6:23 $0.99
9. Ain't No Use
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6:13 $0.99
10. Angel Eyes
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5:50 $0.99
11. Lead The Way
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5:10 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
With this, her third CD for La Brava, Bonnie J Jensen has moved up several artistic and creative notches. The Sapphire Tree is a highly mature and at the same time entertaining piece of work, a superb balance of the familiar and the new.......As a vocalist, she is blessed with astonishing accuracy and a deep feeling for her lyric.... (Steve Robertson, PBS Radio, Melbourne)

A vocal and instrumental tour de force. (South China Morning Post, April 2007)

"... she draws on many influences, sounding sometimes reminiscent of Renee Geyer, at others traces of Peggy Lee or Sarah Vaughan emerge…” (The Australian Weekend Review review February 2007)

Bonnie J Jensen’s third album “The Sapphire Tree” follows the last recording “Blue Joy” on her continuing journey towards a more personal style resulting in a certain glowing warmth of sound and musical integrity. The collaboration with the core musicians of the ARIA (Australia's equivalent of the Grammys) winning jazz group Wanderlust, brings an element of contemporary and European jazz flavour to the sound. This compliments Bonnie’s soulful interpretations well and subtly enhances her unique approaches to her diverse selection of songs, including three new engaging originals including the title song.

Listeners familiar with her past work will appreciate Bonnie’s signature treatments of classic songs, both jazz standards and pop classics.

Here they have reworked U2’s “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” by changing the meter and adding a haunting horn arrangement. Her rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”, like many of the tracks on this album, displays the wide emotional range of her voice.

This Album's Personnel:

Bonnie J Jensen –Vocals, Piano (Tracks 1, 5, 7, 3)
Alister Spence –Fender Rhodes, Organ, Piano (Tracks 2, 4, 9, 11)
Craig Walters – Tenor and Soprano Saxophone
Fabian Hevia – Drums, Percussion
Jeremy Sawkins – Guitars
John Napier - Cello
Jonathan Zwartz – Bass
Miroslav Bukovsky – Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Bonnie is s a respected and versatile singer, songwriter and pianist. Born in New Zealand but based in Sydney, Australia for many years, she has also performed repeatedly in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.

She released her debut album “Lucky So & So” in August 2001. This album quickly reached No.3 in the Australian Independent Jazz Charts. It was surpassed by her second release “Blue Joy” in 2004 that featured luminaries Don Rader (trumpet), Jeremy Sawkins (guitar) and Jonathan Zwartz (bass). “Blue Joy” rose to No. 8 in Japan’s (vocal) Jazz charts for the month of June 2004. Both albums now sell in 6 countries and receive a lot of local airplay in Australia. (You may also purchase these albums on www.CDbaby.com!)


Reviews


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Mountain Man

Music to enjoy your meal
The back yard foliage is peaking, the temps are warm enough, the BBQ is hot, now you need the right music to lay down the right mood for your summer evening dinner party. My recommendation is this latest from Bonnie Jensen. Having thoroughly enjoyed her previous 2 CD's, Sapphire is the strongest most listenable yet, in my opinion. Try tuning it up with your next dinner party. Terrific mood it sets.

victor gugger

this is the yardstick for all australian jazz/blues artists
The sapphire tree sets the standard to which all australian jazz and blues artists should strive to achieve.Bonnie jensen has put her heart and soul into her latest release and it certainly permeates through her music.The version of little wings brings me to tears and the haunting but strong vocals in aeroblue and ain't no use suggest this lady is too good just to stay in the australian market, get hold of her before she flies away....

Paul Bird, Opal FM Radio, Australia

A Magic Album
I absolutly LOVE "Sapphire Tree" It is a magic album. She is writting some great music, and working with terrific musicians.

The presentation of the album is fantastic. Love the photos.

South China Morning Post, 8 April 2007, Robin Lyman

A PACIFIC PRINCESS RETURNS
… Jensen takes over the keyboard for one of the better jazz-inflected cover versions of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing I’ve heard in recent, for two of her originals and for the late Irish songwriter Noel Brazil’s Columbus.

As always with Jensen, it’s an interesting set of interpretations that pays due respect to heritage in the choice of standards and compositions by jazz musicians, but breaks them up with contemporary composition. Jensen once cited Bonnie Raitt as an influence, and like Raitt she generally chooses, with rare intelligence, songs that suit her voice. Both apply the same high standards to their own compositions.

Her phrasing on The Sapphire Tree puts me in mind of Joni Mitchell rather than Diana Krall, with whom she tends to be compared, and she digs down deep into the blues for Aeroblue.

Her record company’s press release says the other original, Neon Soliloquy, is reminiscent of Miles Davis’ soundtrack for Louis Malle’s film Ascenseur pour L’Echaffaud. It isn’t particularly, although it does feature a muted trumpet played by Miroslav Bukovsky, which was one of Davis’ signature sounds. It also reminds me more of Mitchell during her jazz period, performing songs such as Furry Sings the Blues.

The straight-ahead jazz tunes are well chosen. Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia, when Jon Hendricks’ lyrics, is a vocal tour de force and an instrumental one for the band. Night and Day and Angel Eyes are tastefully interpreted and she revisits her bluesy side with Ain’t No Use, which features some effective guitar from Jeremy Sawkins…Jensen is backed by an all-star lineup of Australian jazz musicians.

THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN

REVIEW, February 24 - 25, 2007 Written by John McBeath
Sydney vocalist and pianist Bonnie J Jensen retains most of the quality jazz players in this septet from her previous two albums. She's composed three tracks, collaborated on arrangements and plays accompanying piano on several. There are standards, some unusual vocal pieces and one down-home blues number, "Ain't No Use". Her style is nightclub chanteuse, drawing on many influences, sounding sometimes reminiscent of Renee Geyer, at others traces of Peggy Lee or Sarah Vaughan emerge. Expression is obtained through phrasing and volume rather than via tonal qualities. Solists have adequate space: saxophonist Craig Walters contribues sympathetically, Jeremy Sawkins delivers effortless guitar and Miroslav Bukovsky's broad-toned trumpet is super-heated on "A Night in Tunisia", a challenging vocal piece, cleverly arranged with unusual variations. Jensen's title ballad, an orignial, displays a talent for both musical composition and poetic lyrics, evident too on "Neon Soliloquy": "Like a diamond in the river, as precious as African rain, this glimpse of bliss will sustain you - again and again.

Steve Robertson

PBS Radio, Melbourne
With this, her third CD for La Brava, Bonnie J Jensen has moved up several artistic and creative notches. The Sapphire Tree is a highly mature and at the same time entertaining piece of work, a superb balance of the familiar and the new.

Through this CD, Bonnie clearly demonstrates her wide range of influences and inspirations. Familiar jazz standards (Night In Tunisia, Angel Eyes, Night and Day) are here but are re-worked effectively to give the melodies a needed freshness and vigor. Tunes composed in the last 40 or so years by major instrumentalists like Brian Blade and Jimi Hendrix help cement their compositions as future standards and also introduce them to older (and sometimes even the younger) listeners.

But above all are Bonnie’ own compositions, for which she also serves as her own lyricist (a double skill few have ever mastered – Cole Porter and Matt Dennis come most quickly to mind). The title track The Sapphire Tree is a haunting yet lyrical piece of work that ought to become an Australian standard. Aeroblue continues an almost ancient tradition, the blues, but brings it firmly into the new millennium. And Neon Soliloquy glows with rhythmic subtlety and lyrics that hint rather than yell at you, a common flaw among less-skilled wordsmiths.

Bonnie’s credentials are impressive for one still very much in the prime of her career. She has earned a solid reputation with (now) three critically acclaimed albums and a performance history of exclusive international and local bookings. She continues to spend a large amount of each year working internationally, most recently in Hong Kong and Japan. Her second album, "Blue Joy" reached No. 8 in Japan's Swing Journal Jazz Vocal Charts during 2004. As if that were not enough, Bonnie is an accomplished piano player whose diverse influences range from Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Eliane Elias and Chet Baker, to John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Bob James.

As a vocalist, she is blessed with astonishing accuracy and a deep feeling for her lyric. A sultry singer whose voice moves effortlessly from standard jazz to bossa nova, pop, blues and funk, she is clearly not a prisoner of any single musical style.

Her band cannot be praised highly enough. A very prominent Australian musician/educator once told me he thought Mike Bukovsky is Australia’s best-ever trumpeter. Alister Spence provides marvelous keyboard support on several tracks, Craig Walters is consistently inventive on tenor and soprano, and Fabian Hevia, Jeremy Sawkins and Jonathan Swartz all contribute quite effectively. Unlike some vocalists, Bonnie is very democratic in allotting solo time, so the myriad talents of her band are brought to the fore on The Sapphire Tree.

This exceptionally polished and inspiring CD is getting a fair bit of overseas airplay, notably in Japan, the UK and the USA. This is as it should be – few Australian albums showcase what is excellent about our nation’s jazz scene so comprehensively.

carrarini bruno

un trés bon disque mais surtout une tres bonne chanteuse
j' ai pris beaucoup de plasir a écouter ce disque cette jeune femme a une voix magnifique qui est surlignée par une formation musicale de trés grande qualité, j ai beaucoup aprécié ce jazz tres années 50 avec des reprises de grand classique de jazz, c' est vraiment un trés bon album, trés agréable, plein de charme, a tel point que je viens de commander les 2 autres albums de cette jeune femme.

ABC Limelight Magazine, June 2007

Top class modern jazz talent on her third release and her finest album to date..
Jensen's voice has been compared to Diana Krall's; indeed, it would sit just as comfortably in a country or soft rock setting. Careful to avoid the term jazz in her liner notes, Jensen prefers to cross genres, while she continues to choose top class modern jazz talent on her third release for La Brava and her finest album to date. She also skilfully accompanies herself on piano on four of the 11 selections. Highlights include Alister Spence's sensitive solo on U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Craig Walters's crystaline soprano solo on A Night in Tunisia and Miroslav Bukovsky's passionately muted trumpet solo on Jensen's Aeroblue.

Rocky Review

Stunning, Work of Art
Bonnie J Jensen had a really hard act to follow with "Blue Joy". I thought it was going to be impossible for her to match but the more I listen to "Sapphire Tree" the more I realize she has done it and I want to here it again. "Aeroblue, Neon Soliloquy" is cool jazz as it should be. “Ain’t No Use” and Jimi Hendrix’s classic, “Little Wing” are brilliantly done showing a touch of blues which she is very at home with. Night is Tunisia was a surprise as I don't normally like a vocal version of it but this really is a great rendition, showing that she is a truly versatile singer, songwriter and pianist. The album is a great mix of songs allowing her to show off her style and the wide emotional range of her voice. I have seen her live performance now and she doesn’t disappoint. She is a real class act and has a large repertoire so another album should come soon I hope.

Neville

Relaxing soulful music for winter evenings in front of the fire!!
Choice of material is excellent: 2 standards, 1 jazz standard, 3 originals and a number of rock and contemporary songs.
Tracks are all long enough to give the all-star band room to stretch out and explore the essence of each song.
Highlights? For me, a stunning version of A Night in Tunisia, the unexpected depth of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Bonnie's poetic lyrics for her 3 originals.
Bonus!! Most CD's these days are barely 50 minutes: this is nearly 70. Great value!!