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For her maiden album, Carol Hamersma has opted to go with a play list of both familiar and non familiar material, including three of her compositions. Sometimes she sings and plays her guitars, sometimes she just plays. Whatever, there is a certain delicacy about her soft jazz that I found quite appealing. Listen to her recitation of the lyrics to "So Danco Samba" using them to seques into an engaging guitar solo. Her guitar is not dynamic in that there are lots of chords pouring out. She is more selective, carefully choosing the harmonics fitting her interpretation of the song she is performing. "Without You" as the name implies, is a haunting ballad where she gets a clean sound from her electric guitar, while bassist Tom Givens, quietly plucks away at the bottom of his bass. Her guitar style is reminiscent of Herb Ellis and one of her contemporary peers, Australian Steve Brien. If Hamersma played alto sax, she would come closer to Paul Desmond than to Jackie McLean. Like her guitar, her vocalizing is understated, simple but effective in getting the message of the lyrics across, and she can swing. She moves at medium tempo pace on a captivating version of "You'd Be so Nice to Come Home to" where she does some knowledgeable improvising over the melody of the standard. Here the bassist gets a chance at a solo chorus which he pulls off quite nicely, complimenting the mood of the guitarist. This album is available from Tower Records www.towerrecords.com and is recommended.
Track Listing: Get out of My Head; Rhythm-A-Ning; You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to; West Coast Blues; `Round Midnight; So Danco Samba; Without You; Sidewinder; Once I Loved; Afro-Cuban Lullaby; Crazy Woman's Blues; Chelsea Morning
Personnel: Carol Hamersma - Guitar/Vocal; Nick Scheuble - Drums; Tom Givens - Bass
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.