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Summer Camargo: To Whom I Love


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Summer Camargo: To Whom I Love
Trumpet artist Summer Camargo startled the music and entertainment worlds when, as a brilliant 22-year-old Juilliard grad, she landed the highly-desired trumpet chair in the Saturday Night Live band. Camargo now adds to her lengthy list of achievements with her debut album, To Whom I Love. She and a cadre of New York all-stars deliver nine varied tracks (seven Camargo originals and two jazz workhorses) on which she and her colleagues shine.

"JP Shuffle," upbeat and catchy, launches and is a hard bop shuffler with a straight four bridge. Camargo offers a highly energized solo before Veronica Leahy's alto and Jeffrey Miller's trombone fine solos and tradings with drummer Varun Das. "Girl in a Jeep" is a statement over a Latin groove. Raul Reyes Bueno is just that up first with a neat solo before Camargo flexes her flugel. Das and Jamey Haddad lay into a rhythmic fray before it closes. "Tears of Joy" demos Camargo's lush tone accompanied by B-3 organ on the head. This is jazz gospel at its best with excitement growing with each subsequent key change. Camargo growls, grooves, and grinds deeply here without any "faux soul" jive. The great Joey DeFrancesco on his last recording offers great "church" in a spirited, praise-worthy ride. This is an all-out killer track.

Camargo has a luscious trumpet and flugelhorn tone, highly expressive command of her axes, and uses her vast technical chops to deliver the entire spectrum of volume, inflection, and nuance. Her improv style is such that melodic and rhythmic surprises lurk behind and leap from every corner. Across the date, her horn spools out ribbons of trad, bop, and more modern vocabulary. One can easily distinguish that she has paid her listening dues as there are shades of many in her stylings. However, she's no "highwaywoman" copping clichés.

"Splanky," the Neal Hefti classic in the Count Basie book, is a real swinger and a great platform for Camargo to channel Joe Newman and demo her ace plunger skills as she duels with trombonist Jeffrey Miller. Alto saxophonist Veronica Leahy joins the party spewing soul. Pianist Esteban Castro delivers superbly here and across the session. On "Exploring the City" flute and flugel state this exotic melody before they take off in a play of tag phrases. The pace of the solos over the Latin groove is a perfect picture of the title. Another highlight. "Grateful for the Good Times" again has Camargo lush and deeply expressive on the reflective down-home melody. Again, she digs down creatively and simply stuns with emotional intensity—even at the softest of dynamics. Great accompanying and solo from Castro. A highlight among highlights.

Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields' "(On the) Sunny Side of the Street" is taken as originally intended with frontline trumpet, muted bone, and clarinet (minus rhythm section) before things explode into raucous romp-a-pa-looza. All three let it fly with Camargo brilliantly channeling Pops and cohorts relishing. Another killer track. "Dance of the Merrymaker" is a straight-head hand-clappin,' booty-swaggin' swinger. With everyone letting loose on this party, it sends this album off in best musical way possible.

This is an extraordinarily entertaining and spirited work, excellently performed and produced by Sean Jones. It is a superior debut effort from an incredibly talented artist for whom, as the Romans would say: ad astra per aspera which means "aspire to the stars." With To Whom I Love Camargo proves she is already up there.

Track Listing

JP Shuffle, Girl in the Jeep, 80 Tears of Joy, Tenderness Within, Splanky, Exploring the City, Grateful for the Good Times, (On the) Sunny Side of the Street, Dance of the Merry Maker.


Veronica Leahy
saxophone, alto
Jeffrey Miller
Varun Das
Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3
Jamey Haddad

Album information

Title: To Whom I Love | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Blue Engine Records

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