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Camille Thurman: Origins

C. Michael Bailey By

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Camille Thurman may have started as a vocalist, but on her Hot Tone debut, Origins, the flexes her breath, blowing through every instrument that transmits wind. Thurman rides the wave created by bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones, creator of Hot Tone Records with the release of her Balance (2014). A third artist makes a trio in this flood of music in drummer/percussionist Shirazette Tinnin who released her recording Humility at the same time. These three women have much to do with one another and each other's recordings. For Thurman's part, both her vocals and flute and reeds playing become ubiquitous. But it is on her own Origins that Thurman spreads a wide smile, revealing a broad and deep stylistic palette that goes a long way in blurring those said stylistic lines.

Thurman reveals herself gradually on Origins. First off is a spikey hard bop original, "Forward Motion" featuring her big tenor sound (tipping a hat to Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt). Performed in as a tenor trio, "Forward Motion" is a lengthy rumination of the place of each instrument in the trio, both temporally and stylistically. Half regimented, Half free jazz and half 21st century bop, the piece sets the tone of the recording. Thurman loosens the laces after this definitive statement, producing a more contemporary and homogenous sound that sets up a jazz suite of sorts that directly signals a new and more integrated sound, one shared with Thurman by Jones and her Balance.

"A Change of Mind" is a vocal feature where Thurman displays her sturdy, soul-infused voice singing mock vocalese over her own composition. Her tenor saxophone is colored more by Ben Webster by way of Michael Brecker, with a vermouth trace of John Coltrane. Thurman is at once serious and playful, weaving well- calculated scat among her lyrics. This title cut is a complex bit of sleight-of-hand directed by pianist Luis Perdomo to a double time 4/4 solo section that is as much trad mainstream as it is 21st Century. Thurman covers and arranges Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," making it an off time relative of Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas."

Origins is finely produced and engineered to provides as shiny and sleek a sound as possible without sounding over-produced, a danger ubiquitous in modern recording. The presence of drummer Shirazette Tinnin adds a complicated organicness to the recording, one maintained and promoted by bassist Corcoran Holt and drummer Rudy Royston. This musical collaboration begins to redefine what "organicness" means in jazz, showing a drift or evolution toward the more refined and precise. This is jazz taking up where post-bop left off and heading in a melodic and probing direction.

Track Listing: Forward Motion; A Change of Mind; Indigo Moments; Origins; The Dreamweaverer; Anna’s Joy; In Due Time; Kindred Minds; Felix’s Groove; Jitterbug Waltz; Pursuit With a Purpose; Please be Kind; Revisiting The Past.

Personnel: Camille Thurman: saxophones, flutes, vocals; Enoch Smith, Jr.: piano; Luis Perdomo: piano, Corcoran Holt: bass; Rudy Royston: drums; Shirazette Tinnin: drums and cajon; Brandee Younger: harp.

Title: Origins | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Hot Tone Music


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