In a recent interview given to her label after recording Inside the MomentCamille Thurman talks of her love for the BIG “six-foot” tenor saxophone sound of Dexter Gordon. Her own tenor sound is rather more petite than her idol Miss Thurman has always managed to project it as high and far as Mr Gordon’s. Moreover, hers is also a lyric tenor – although it might rumble into the dramatic and the spirited realms, if the music called for it. Such epithet are almost de rigueur when considering Miss Thurman’s playing as her horn is played in an almost classical sense, mimicking the human voice, in Jazz, where gender does not really matter.
As Camille Thurman uses very little broad vibrato like Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster, her characteristic sound is clean and dry, which gives us the histrionics that are her own. There is also nothing pretentiously ‘original’ in these songs that were recorded at Rockwood Music Hall in New York. Her passion on “Sassy’s Blues” is elegant, forceful and seemingly weightless, as befits, perhaps Sarah Vaughan, whom she is celebrating here. Not much later in the proceedings, Miss Thurman negotiates the dark beauty of Miles Davis’ “Nefertiti” with a plainness that gradually achieves eloquence and her “Cherokee” is given an unusual flexing muscularity and melodic substance.
In all of those, as well as the rest of the repertoire on Inside the Moment Camille Thurman yields nothing to the finest recordings of these songs in the accuracy and passion, this fine recording capturing the full range of her tone in a rich but not overly-resonant acoustic. Miss Thurman has chosen her sidemen well, which is keeping with her own singular aesthetic. For instance, Mark Whitfield on guitar is chosen rather than a pianist. The result is one in which the harmonic richness of the music is spectacular without overpowering the overall and sweetly unassuming and “very singing” account of the music that is heard here on a disc that is very much Inside the Moment.
Billy Drummond on drums and Ben Allison on bass complete the quartet – and it all works like yin and yang throughout; the music swinging like quasi-algebraic conversations as it is caressed by the players one after the other. Meanwhile we discover new things about our principal character, Camille Thurman, all the time. Her singing – an immense talent we always knew about – soars and at times brings the best surprises. Not only is the melancholia of “Sassy’s Blues” joyfully resolved as all classic blues, brilliantly sung does in the end but her “Cherokee” which begins softly, is radiantly scat deep into the middle of Ray Noble’s iconic song to Ben Allison’s loping and dancing accompaniment.
That and all of the rest of the music is brilliantly captured by Nicholas Prout together with Mar Mezrich and Janelle Costa on this Chesky disc employing the now ubiquitous B&K Binaural Head and other state-of-the-art equipment put to great use by the record label.
Track List – 1: The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; 2: Sassy’s Blues; 3: Road Song; 4: Detour Ahead; 5: Nefertiti; 6: Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; 7: Cherokee
Personnel – Camille Thurman: tenor saxophone, vocals; Ben Allison: bass; Billy Drummond: drums; Mark Whitfield: guitar
Released – 2017
Label – Chesky
Runtime – 49:14