"Charmaine Clamor is 'Something Good' Indeed" from Ron W with In a Blue Mood

Vocalist Charmaine Clamor describes herself ôIÆm a Filipino-American. ItÆs true, IÆm a jazz singer. I do this musical blending called jazzipino, and it comes straight from my heart. But itÆs also true that IÆm a citizen of Earth, and IÆm a world-blues-funk-soul-pop vocalist who wonÆt be, canÆt be, categorized. IÆm me, and this is my music.ö She certainly has come along way from entertaining passengers -- whether they liked it or not! -- in the back of buses traveling to Manila. In the interim, she has garnered more than a few rave reviews.

Her new CD, ôSomething Goodö (Freeham Records) mixes jazz, R&B, filipino and other elements. She displays at a smokey, sensous style and others more of a romantic charm, but throughout enchants with her timing, phrasing and tone. Its a delightful mix of songs and settings to frame her voice. The opening ôEvery Single Momentö has a languid delivery of her reflections of past moments, kisses, plans and now she is so much wiser, set against a intricate accompaniments of strings and percussion followed by her understated, delightful updating of Jon HendrickÆs lyrics for Horace Silver ôDoodlinÆö, with swinging piano from Eli Brueggemann. The title track is the Rodgers-Hammerstein standard taken at a slow drag tempo that allows Clamor to lend it a bluesy flavor with effective use of stop-times in the performance. SynthÆed horns and real ones are part of the backing in the buoyant celebration of Stevie WonderÆs music, ôFeelinÆ Stevie,ö with ClamorÆs joyfully singing a lyric incorporates a number of WonderÆs song-titles in its lyric as she sings he is the ôMaster Blaster of the harmonica, Charlie Parker on a prayerful mission àö After that ebullient performance the mood shifts a filipino adaptation of the traditional negro spiritual on, ôMotherless Ili Ili,ö with Dominic ThirouxÆs arco bass adding to the performanceÆs mood.

The spirited Brazilian styled, ôFlowö celebrates life and nature, from a simple drink of water, and a simple drink of life. A childrenÆs chorus added on the vocal chorus here. ôMaalaala Mo Kaya,ö is sung in her native tongue to the bouncy latin rhythm she asks ôDo you remember, your promise to me, that you love, will never end,ö marvelously backed by the marvelous piano trio that is the core of the accompaniments here.ö Clamor turns in a sultry, sensuous blues vocal on ôSweet Spot,ö with Brueggemann adding grease on the organ. Tempo changes on the cha cha cha, ôThe Farther You Go,ö with punchy and responsive horns added while ôBelieve in Love,ö is an uplifting ballad as her voice soars as she delivers this wonderful lyric.

I cannot overstate how consistently fine the backing she receives as well. The add embellishments around her vocals, but never dominate a performance, rather providing a supple setting for her singing. The mix of material and musical backdrops combined with ClamorÆs sensuous and evocative vocals makes ôSomething Goodö a terrific recording.

by Ron W, for In a Blue Mood, NOVEMBER 02, 2010