Dear Awesome Backers,
Just a reminder that we are heading to New England tomorrow to start our CD release performance/celebrations! Nothing would be better than to fill the venues and show the promoters we can "bring 'em out"! Please come join us and bring your friends. If you can't make it, please spread the word.
We hope you have been enjoying the CDs and downloads and now you can hear the music live...a whole new and exciting experience!
I am really looking forward to seeing so many friends and supporters and to finally meet so many of you who have generously supported this project. I've posted the dates/locations below as well as a wonderful article that appeared today in the Hartford Current.
See you soon!
CD Release Tour Dates
Nov 14 - Springfield, MA Pioneer Valley Jazz
Nov 15 - New Haven, CT Firehouse 12
Nov 16 - Old Lyme, CT The Side Door
Nov 19 - New York, NY Jazz Standard
By OWEN McNALLY Special to The Courant
Promoting her new, triumphant album, “In This Life,” the noted flutist/composer Jamie Baum, a globe-trotting Bridgeport native, returns to her home state to play rare, back-to-back concerts at two of Connecticut’s hottest venues, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 on Nov. 15 and Old Lyme’s The Side Door Jazz Club on Nov. 16. While her tours as a performer and a U.S. State Department-designated jazz ambassador have taken the New York-based musician to South America, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand and Bangladesh, she manages to make periodic appearances in her home state, getting a chance to re-connect with family and friends in Fairfield where she grew up. Some years back, Baum made an instant and indelible impression on Hartford jazz fans as a young flutist with an instrumental voice all her own. Among memorable performances, she dazzled at Al Casasanta’s legendary 880 Club and, most particularly, in a duo appearance with the piano great Kenny Barron at John Chapin’s swanky Lloyds restaurant, then the hippest nightspot and entertainment spa in town. “Playing at Lloyds with Kenny Barron was a really exciting gig for me. And, yes, I remember Lloyds. It was a wonderful club,” she says by phone from her New York apartment, recalling early jobs in a number of Connecticut venues, including Main & Hopewell in South Glastonbury. “In This Life” marks Baum’s third CD in her ongoing series of acclaimed septet albums. With her small band generating a big ensemble sound, Baum has created a classy repertoire rooted in a seamless synthesis of jazz with a variety of influences, including modern classical music and, with her new release, South Asian music. Her compositions are a happy marriage of sophisticated writing and swinging improvisation. Whatever her source of inspiration, her hiply hybrid pieces are beautiful, multi-layered, never static, never pedantic original works, all created in her own distinctive voice. In her liner notes, which are embedded in the CD itself and are ready to be read on your computer screen, she says her album’s 11 works were inspired by her extensive travels in India and Nepal, by the sights, sounds and rhythms she soaked up there, and by what she absorbed from making live music with iconic South Asian musicians. Another key inspiration, she says, was the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the late Pakistani singer of Qawwali, devotional Sufi music. Widely celebrated in South Asia, he is best known in the West through his appearances on recordings by Ry Cooder, Peter Gabriel and even a video by Michael Jackson. Part of the secret of Baum’s success as a composer is her rare ability to somehow combine accessibility with complexity. What makes her complex, multi-layered art so accessible is that she has a natural gift for writing compelling melodic lines. It doesn’t seem to matter whether she’s taking her inspiration from modern classical music, as in her earlier vibrant, witty homage to composer Charles Ives, or using classical Indian music as her muse. Whatever her original fount of inspiration, her melodies invariably sing over the top of sophisticated, challenging orchestrations, sonic tapestries graced with thick textures, crackling contrapuntal conversations and swirling ideas punctuated by meter and mood changes and surprises. Emotionally, her new CD ranges in scope from a moving requiem for a loved one to a witty world music freedom jazz dance. A colorist with a wide-sweeping palette, Baum evokes a rainbow of tonal colors with her new recording’s instrumentation for an expanded septet. With “In This Life,” she gets to paint portraits with flute, alto flute and the b-flat flute d’Amore; trumpet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, French horn, guitar, piano, bass, drums, congas and tabla. Filled with the interplay of overlapping voices, her music is always alive with change and accented by interesting turns and twists that don’t wear-out or fray even after many, many listenings—the acid test of a CD’s worth. “I think I just happen to like melody. I think if you have a good melody, people will respond to that. I love writing great melody, but I like writing this stuff underneath, which is really what attracts the good musicians to want play it because it’s challenging. But I don’t write melodies just to be accessible. I just kind of write,” she says. Another aspect of her art is that she taps into non-jazz genres, whether 20th century classical or Indian music, purely as a source of inspiration, a way to broaden her artistic palette and nurture, even expand her creative imagination as a composer. Never claiming to be a master of the genre, she approaches Indian music, for example, only with great respect and no intention of immersing herself in the study of the tradition. “My goal with this music hasn’t been to play or compose in those styles, but to have it inspire new ways of writing and improvising,” she explains in her liner notes for “In This Life.” “I’m simply trying to use that influence in my own way,” she says, riffing on her liner note thought on using sources as a creative catalyst in her own way for her own original work. “I started out as a Third Stream major (the merging of jazz and classical streams into a new, independent third stream). And that concept, in very simplified terms, is about allowing yourself to follow your instincts and follow your influences, your muse or whatever grabs you. And for me, I always liked a lot of different kinds of music. “I think most musicians, particularly in jazz, have to follow what turns you on, whatever excites you and whatever you hear in your head. If you’re listening to a lot of a certain kind of music, for example, those themes are going to end up in your head. Just like if you watch a lot of TV, and you’re walking around and start hearing a theme for a commercial in your head. It just sort of permeates and becomes part of who you are. “So when I listen to tabla or certain music of India, I get the same feeling I do when I listen to John Coltrane or Miles Davis, or Luciano Pavarotti sing ‘Nessun Dorma' (a classic Puccini aria). “If it makes me cry, or it makes me feel something, then it’s something I’m interested in. We do a lot of listening that inspires us, and then, hopefully, some of that will come out in our own way, not mimicking something.” Both of Baum’s Connecticut dates feature the great Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, who recently played with his own band at Firehouse 12. Here’s the information on both concerts: Baum leads her septet Nov. 15 at 8:30 and 10 p.m. at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., New Haven. Her collaborators are: ElSaffar, guitarist Brad Shepik, alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Douglas Yates, pianist John Escreet, bassist Zach Lober and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. Tickets: $18, first set; $12, second set. Information: www.firehouse12.com and 203-785-0468. She performs with her quintet Nov. 16 at 8:30 p.m. at The Side Door Jazz Club, 85 Lyme St., Old Lyme. The lineup is: Baum, flutes; ElSaffar, trumpet; Escreet, piano; Lober, bass; and Hirshfield, drums. Tickets: $25. Information: www.thesidedoorjazz.com and 860-434-0886