REVIEW: Ellen Rowe Quintet featuring Ingrid Jensen’s “Courage Music”

 photo EllenRowe_cover_zps4ef08843.jpg The latest album by jazz pianist Ellen Rowe has her joined by four powerful musicians (Pete Siers on drums, Kurt Krahnke on bass, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Andrew Bishop on tenor sax and clarinet) and getting accompaniment from trombonist Paul Ferguson and the University Of Michigan Chamber Jazz Ensemble. Courage Music (PKO) sounds like the kind of music you’d expect to hear on albums by McCoy Tyner, Dave Brubeck, and Brian Blade, where things are cool and laid back and the whole vibe is about that easy feeling, with intense interaction between everyone involved. Songs like “Golandrinas De Los Horcones” and “Gentle Spirit” has Rowe playing in a way that truly speaks to you, and when she brings in Jensen or Bishop to play solos or perform in unison, you can really see and hear what she and they are trying to do. This is the kind of music you might hear on NPR on Friday at 11:30 and go “wait, what was that?” and then you go out to find out how to get the full album. It’s music that not only has courage, but gives courage to the musicians who are playing it, something that leads to peace and freedom.