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CHARMAINE CLAMOR :: SEARCHING FOR THE SOUL
by Ron Sagye La Rue


FreeHam Records, No catalog number
Time 54:17

John Belzaguy:Bass
Gustavo Garcia:Percussion
Glen Garrett:Tenor saxophone,flute
Andy Howe:Piano
Kim Richmond:Alto Saxophone,Alto Flute
Dave Tull: Drums
Kenny Wild:Bass
Zaxariades:Guitar

Searching For The Soul is vocalist,Charmaine Clamor's solo debut recording released on FreeHam records. She offers a potpourri of material from a broad spectrum of music. Duke Ellington "Come Sunday",and "It Don't Mean A Thing",too American songbook Standards
"My Romance","I'm In The Mood For Love". Pop classics "Since I Fell For You","Neither One Of Us". Charmaine also includes a Blues "Please Send Me Someone to Love". Some Bossa Novas are on the program as well. There are thirteen songs in all;ballads pervade her first solo session. But there's plenty of variety in tempo changes,unexpected twists and turns, within these ballads,that will hold your interest.

Charmaine also has a hand in four of the songs arrangements. The program opens with COME SUNDAY its original solemn character is maintained with deep dark tones,dirge-like, she delivers the melody with such emotional expression in her voice. And the music just flows from deep in her soul,the song actually becomes a prayer so-much-so you may want to genuflect! When she repeats "my people" twice and emphasizes and puts stress on the first syllable of people,you know Charmaine is feeling this seldom heard Ellington composition. A very moving performance. SINCE I FELL FOR YOU was recorded over forty years ago. Today Charmaine revives this classic pop standard and her rendition is superb. The way the opening lyric is sung "you" its sustained as drummer Dave Tull's brushes accompany perfectly(harmonizes?). Her vibrato is so fitting! Particularly noteworthy is pianist,Andy Howe's sound and playing throughtout this tract quite ear-catching the way he feeds chords short phrases etc. The rhythm section with bassist,Kenny Wild's warm tones is a plus. Glen Garrett on tenor sax speaks his feelings as well. Charmaine really knows how to put a song across I like her strength and smoothness. She's made this a classic again,for the twenty-first century. The original had a string section,working with a quartet here nothing is lost, Charmaine puts her very personal stamp on this song and help with the arrangement.

THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU/TENDERLY A medley goes back even further with these two to a gentler time. They are sung as though written for Charmaine personally a relaxed ease is in her voice projecting but not forcing. Moving back and forth between each song with confidence. Sumptuous. NEITHER ONE OF US for this writer is one of the very high points on this album. The song is sung with overwhelming passion! As though maybe Charmaine has lived this song?
A unique quality in Charmaine's voice is that she"makes" you believe
in the song. The high point I speak is: when she moans just before singing"for some ungodly reason" Garrett comes in on flute with a ghostly eeriness(complementing Charmaine's voice)extremely effective!. Kenny Wild's choice of notes on bass is so striking. You need to hear it! At 2:20 the tempo increases--listen when Charmaine sings "Lord" in the upper range. Then lets out a guttural sound on "Lord Knows" words can't express the deep sound she gets. The song reverts back to its original ballad tempo.

IT DON'T MEAN A THING back to the Maestro again Ellington has many unexpected twists,turns and stop and go parts. Charmaine does some scatting... yes she does that well too! This is a joyful performance with some humor, nice breaks,sultry nuances etc. an interesting ending. Better heard than written about. I LIVE TO LOVE YOU (Morrer De Amor) Charmaine does a wonderful job on this and she gets a Sarah Vaughan(she's listened to Sarah)feel in certain phrases. Not an imitation but maybe, an acknowledgment.
It's got Bossa Nova rhythms.
YOU AND I is by guitarist Zaxariades and is the most commerically radio friendly song on the CD. She can handle current pop sounds well too. This one having a bouncing dancy feel,about it with background vocals by the composer overdubbed but it works,tastefully done. This would make it on any "smooth jazz" station.

PLEASE SEND ME SOMEONE TO LOVE is a flat out Blues raunchy as you want it and then some.Charmaine can belt the Blues!! She sure can shout!! That's a part of the vocal Jazz tradition too! Many singers today don't deal with the Blues... at least not like this.
She takes care of plenty business!! But only on the last to lyrics (Oh Yeah) I wish she'd have gotten more Bluesy. But hey Lady Day(Billie Holiday) had her vocal moments. Over all a wonderful solo debut for Charmaine Clamor. She has definitely arrived! Jazz singers beware There's a new Jazz Singer on the scene. And she's ready! What I really like about Charmaine is that she can be whisper-soft, grippingly forcefull,earthy, Romantic and soulful.

Charmaine's vocalism is amazing. This album should be nominated for a grammy.... and win! She has *marami(much) *kaluluwa(soul)
An *katutubo (original) SEARCHING FOR THE SOUL is the title of Charmaine's debut album. But from my perspective she's found it
within her own soul, and reveals its self through her extraordinarily appealing voice. (*Tagalog language of the Philippines). For more info on this CD www.freehamrecords.com

published 26.11.2005 2005 jazz news :: home page

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