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Want to try something really different in jazz vocals? Step into the world of Charmaine Clamor, native of the Philippines, who refers to her music as "jazzpino and whose primary languages are Tagalog and Bisayan. Clamor is supported by singer Tierney Sutton's long-time triopianist Christian Jacob; bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinkeras well as New York saxman Julius Tolentino and a host of others.
Flippin' Out presents songs in English from the Great American Songbook, which bookend the centerpiece of the albumthe ambitious "Filipino Suite," consisting of five segments sung in Tagalog or Bisayan by Clamor, who fuses American jazz trio music with the indigenous sound of her native languages. The suite confirms her ability to sing effectively in these languages as well as English (Clamor graduated from her Los Angeles high school as valedictorian and now holds a Master's Degree). The "Filipino Suite" is a series of five soothing ballads in which the vocals are supported by guitarist Richard Ickard and the stringed instruments of Kulintang, a percussion ensemble. Were the origin of language not identified in the liner notes, it would easy to imagine this suite being performed in a late night lounge in Honolulu, Bombay or Karachi.
Clamor's approach, as well as appearance, suggests a similarity to the way that singer Julie London enthralled an audience with both her breathy, sensual vocals and her photogenic presence. While there is little physical or vocal similarity between these two singers, they both beckon listeners to the boudoir door, with Clamor using a distinct approach via the back door entrance. Clamor reports that her style was influenced by pointers from her friend and mentor, the big-voiced Linda Hopkins.
While English may be a secondary language here, Clamor knows quite a bit about jazz shading, and her version of the opening "My Funny Valentine," here morphed into "My Funny Brown Pinay," sets the stage with a funky setting. Her renditions of Kramer/David/Whitney's "Candy," a tune usually sung at mid- or up-tempo, as well as the blues-drenched "Sugar in My Bowl," are slowed down to a crawl, allowing listeners to observe how time stands still. Ray Noble's "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" and Mario Lanza-associated "Be My Love" are given dramatic readings.
Track Listing: My Funny Brown Pinay; I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You; Candy; With or Without You; Sugar in My Bowl; Filipino Suite: Panahon Na/Hindi Kita Malimot, Usahay, Minamahal Kita, Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan, Dahil Sa'Yo; I Need a Lot of Love; Be My Love.
Personnel: Charmaine Clamor: vocals; Christian Jacob: piano; Trey Henry: bass; Ray Brinker: drums; Julius Tolentino: alto sax; Abe Lagrimas, Jr.: ukulele; Gustavo Garcia: percussion; Richard Ickard: guitar; Zaxariades: guitar, percussion, vocals; Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble: kulintang.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.