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Tidal Currents: East Meets West

Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra

Released Feb 2 2024

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra has commissioned a unique collaboration from two of Canada’s leading jazz composers: Christine Jensen and Jill Townsend. They have captured the spirit and essence of the bodies of water that shaped them since childhood, and turned this into a unique suite of big band music. They are also featured on the album as guest artists, with Jill as conductor and Christine as saxophone soloist.

Inside The Wave by Jill Townsend
Soloists: Matthew Walden & Fabio Ragnelli
Inside the Wave was inspired by the rugged west coast and majestic ocean waves near Sooke, BC. The opening theme played by the saxes represents the waves as they uncurl and unfold onto the shore. An abrupt change of meter and feel midway through the movement emphasizes the unpredictable character of coastal weather.

Crossing Lachine by Christine Jensen
Soloists: Fabio Ragnelli & Niall Cade
This is inspired by my current love for paddle boarding across the St. Lawrence river right at the base of the Lachine Rapids in Montreal. During the summer, I let go with the most thrilling paddles on this majestic body of water, full of currents whirling around me. At the same time I am able to glide fast over them, while looking at stunning horizons and this unique vista on water.

Tidal Currents by Jill Townsend
Soloists: Karl Kohut & Christine Jensen
Small waves washing over tiny rocks close to the shore are reimagined using the sounds of piano, bass, drums, and muted brass. As with tidal currents, the music also ebbs and flows. Cascading horns provide backdrop for the beautiful sound of Christine Jensen’s soprano sax.

Rock Skipping Under The Half Moon by Christine Jensen
Soloist: Christine Jensen
This composition is inspired by my birthplace of Sechelt, British Columbia. I practiced rock skipping there, on the beautiful Sechelt Inlet with the gorgeous coastal mountains in the shadows. This piece starts out with the shimmer sounds of the small inlet waves calling us down to the shoreline. With two notes, we start the practice of rock skipping. The theme also takes place over the swaying rhythms of a slow waltz that mimics the feel of lapping of waves on the shoreline. It gets extended, as I continue to climb intervallically with the lines, pulling them longer and higher, again alluding to achieving a longer row of rock skips with the end.

Line Up

Saxophones: Christine Jensen (alto, soprano), Neil Watson (alto), Niall Cade (tenor), Monica Jones (tenor), Kyle Wedlake (baritone)
Trumpets: Shane Hicks, Jenny Taylor, Richard Gillis, Matthew Walden
Trombones: Joel Green, Jeremy Duggleby, Francois Godere, Isabelle Lavoie
Piano: Will Bonness
Guitar: Larry Roy
Bass: Karl Kohut
Drums: Fabio Ragnelli
Conductor: Jill Townsend


  1. Inside The Wave
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  2. Crossing Lachine
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  3. Tidal Currents
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  4. Rock Skipping Under The Half Moon
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