May 24, 2018
Flutist Jamie Baum has created one of the first truly exception jazz recordings of 2018 with the release of Bridges, performed by the Jamie Baum Septet +. A Guggenheim Fellow, Ms. Baum has deftly merged what we classify as “World Music” with jazz in a way that honors both genres. By taking sounds from the Jewish liturgical music of her childhood, and finding common ground with Muslim/Arabic and Hundi/South Asian music, Jamie has created something truly unique. Having traveled extensively, and been captivated by Nepal, she allows the sounds of these locales to seep deeply into her music.
The large ensemble is top notch. Amir El-Saffar (trumpet) burst onto a wider stage last year with the release of his Rivers of Sound: Not Two CD and his approach to the music are at the core of Bridges. Ms. Baum wisely added Sam Sadigursky (alto sax, bass clarinet) and Chris Komer (French horn) to the front line, producing sounds, colors and texture that seem to come from sources well beyond the four musicians. The rhythm section – guitarist Brad Shepik (who shreds on some tunes, lays back on others), pianist John Escreet, bassist Zack Lober and drummer Jeff Hirschfeld is given the task of bridging the gap (sorry for the pun!) between traditional beats and more intricate time signatures and tones. The result is truly inspiring.
Jamie Baum has been a fixture on both Critic’s and Reader’s Polls for the past decade as a flutist and band leader. Besides the Septet +, she leads the Short Stores sextet (featuring Gregoire Maret and Gilad Hekselman); the quintet Yard Byard: The Jaki Byard Project (featuring Adam Kolker) and her own quartet and quintet of varying personnel. As an educator, she continues to influence budding musicians from her teaching posts at Manhattan School of Music and New School, and with her “A Fear Free Approach to Improvisation for the Classically-Trained Musician” clinics.
Podcast 621 is my conversation with Jamie, featuring musical selections from Bridges including “Honoring Nepal: The Shiva Suite Pt.1”, “Song Without Words”, and “Joyful Lament.”