"A Profoundly Unique Debut" from Dennis Wong with Women's Radio News

On her debut release Searching for the Soul, singer Charmaine Clamor slinks into Jazz prominence with a sleek seductiveness denoted by her rich and versatile vocals. In her search for the soul, Clamor contributes her own particular brand of soulfulness in a showcase of Jazz standards from Buddy Johnson to Duke Ellington. Without question, Charmaine Clamor's vocal instrumentation is profoundly unique and purrs with sensual delight that is more than apt for the source material as she utilizes her voice to the full diversity of expressiveness.

Charmaine's take on "Since I Fell For You," is introduced by a lusty, sweeping piano that sets the lingering velvet backdrop for the sheer torchy elegance of the singer's vocals. It's often in moments like these in the album, where Charmaine's voice lingers as a gentle quaver brimming with barely restrained yearning that the singer truly breathes new life into classic balladry with her rich sense of melody and the warm timbre of her voice. The final, wistful notes of the track, and perhaps any notes sung by Ms. Clamor are simply dazzlingly mystifying.

The mournful, melancholy-yet-unrepentantly-loving chanteuse streak continues with a seamless combination of Ray Noble's and the classic "Tenderly" by Walt Lloyd Gross and Jack Lawrence; both songs covered by greats such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. However, in her meshing of the two songs, Charmaine Clamor manages to create something refreshingly appealing and dynamically moody. The track opens with the delicate allure of ôThe Very Thought of You,ö full of effortless charm. ôTenderlyö segues in subtly with Charmaine taking on a more dramatic tone. Every breath of the notes of the word ôtenderlyö seems to ache with unrequited love, in contrast to the previous portion of the track.

The updated version of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" is a standout track as well, with Ms. Clamor injecting some appropriately upbeat, swinging energy with her staccato bursts of scat singing, and the song as a whole contributing a danceable swing feel to the album. Ms. Clamor's versions of these Jazz standards and Blues ballads serve as great vehicles for her amazing vocal work, making for a lovely listen indeed. ôSearching for the Soulö is a more than worthy debut for Charmaine Clamor.

by Dennis Wong, for Women's Radio News, AUGUST 05, 2008