New Yorker or, more specifically, Brooklyn flutist and composer Jamie Baum has again realized a most ambitious album that repeats the success of her previous Moving Forward, Standing Still
(Omnitone, 2004), with largely the same personnel. After an intensive homage to Bela Bartok on that album, Baum spends even more time here with the work of Twentieth Century classicist Charles Ives.
To explain Baum's compositions is a thorny enough affair. Her own work on flute offers up a calming influence but a good portion of the album brings in free jazz as expressed by ensemble members Ralph Alessi, trumpet, Doug Yates, alto sax and bass clarinet, Vincent Chancey, French horn, George Colligan, piano, Johannes Weidenmueller, bass, and drummer Jeff Hirschfield. Baum is not greedy about solo time and allots a significant amount to these musicians.
Vocalist Kyoka Kitamora sings on Questions Unanswered" in vocalese, responding to the sampled voice of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, who is heard from his Inaugural Address and interview. Kitamora responds directly to the JFK statements, which in the latter portion offer validation for the Vietnam Conflict. Sandwiching the Kennedy track are two free jazz tunes that are part of the "Ives Suite""Time Traveler" and "Answers Unquestioned."
Part of Baum's compositional and arranging charm is that several of these tunes are fully mainstream, including the title track and "In Passing," possesses a great calming influence. One album highlight is the inclusion of "Wheeler of Fortune," written for British trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, which manages to display both mainstream and free jazz elements.
The bipolar aspects of Solace will go over well with those who can appreciate both kinds of music on the same album.
Personnel: Jamie Baum: flute, alto flute; Ralph Alessi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Vincent Chancey: French horn; George Colligan: piano; Jeff Hirschfield: drums; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass; Douglas Yates: saxophone, bass clarinet; Shane Endsley: trumpet; Chris Komer: French horn; Kyoko Kitamura: voice.