Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan - No. 171
Written by Yasuko Nakatani


Singer and Pianist, Bonnie J Jensen who is originally from New Zealand, performing world-wide, based in Australia, made her fifth visit to Japan after her appearances at the 2012 Mongolian Jazz Festival.

Bonnie’s show at the Tokyo TUC was full of her fans and supporters. As I am a pianist/singer, I sat in the front row so that I could see her fingers. She was a tall, blonde, Scandinavian-looking woman who looked great in a halter-neck dress.

I noticed only a song list on the piano and she indicated only keys and tempos to her support musician, Graham Jesse who played Tenor Sax, Flute and Alto Flute. It seemed as though he didn’t read much music and they impressed me with their tight playing, strong connection and high level of trust.

Bonnie’s singing sounded more amazing and powerful than on her CDs and her piano playing was also wonderful.

Highlights included Peel me a Grape, a complicated and energetic version of Girl From Ipanema from her first album "Lucky So & So", not only a very cool Take 5, but a cute Bluesette and Waltz for Debby as well as the Spanish Besame Mucho. She surprised me with her large repertoire and entertained her Japanese fans with these popular songs. But the best song was her original, adult contemporary song, Tokyo Skies, which was inspired by the neighbourhood of Azabu, on sunset walks during her very first trip to Japan. Another lovely original piece, The Sapphire Tree, began with a sorrowful bossa intro.

For encore, they performed Bonnie’s original Without a Word which she dedicated to the people of Japan who suffered during and after the 3.11 disaster. As she performed this tune her eyes seemed to be filled with tears, nevertheless, she ended the night on an upbeat note with a joyful rendition of Jobim’s No More Blues which she sang in Portuguese then English.

I thought that Bonnie was very thoughtful in regards to her audience through the whole show and that impressed me a lot. I hope that she will keep performing and composing fantastic songs . I also hope that I may follow in her footsteps.

Translated by Yuko Miyamoto