"Sound Check" from Gary Graff with Oakland Press

Creating a new music form is no small feat. But for Charmaine Clamor, Jazzipino was something of a no-brainer.

Heard on Clamor’s fifth album, 2010’s “Something Good,” Jazzipino is a combination of the music of her native Phillipines — particularly the torchy Kundiman style — and the jazz she heard early in her life, particularly vocal music by Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horne, Sarah Vaughn and others.

“They are two of my great loves in music,” says Clamor, who moved to the United States with her parents, who are both U.S. military employees. “It was organic. I didn’t really plan it. It just kind of came out.”

It took a minute for Clamor to get there, too. Her first album, 2005’s “Searching For the Soul” — on author and musician Michael Konik’s FreeHam Records label — was made of American jazz standards, and Clamor has also sung the blues — literally — while notching three consecutive titles in the Top 20 of JazzWeek’s World Music charts. Now that she’s being recognized for Jazzipino, however, she plans to follow that path and is even working on her own songs in the idiom.

“It started out as a reinterpretation of the classics, but I’m exploring more and more on original (compositions),” Clamor says. “I’m actually collecting material now — even since last year. And I believe we’re doing to start recording by the end of the year, when the touring for (‘Something Good’) dies down.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s new for me. It’s just having the confidence to bring (the originals) out when there are so many good songs out there already.”

by Gary Graff, for Oakland Press, MAY 20, 2011

POSTED ON MAY 20, 2011