In This Life
While she's busy as a performer and educator, flautist Jamie Baum has released just five albums since making her debut in 1992. Here for her third septet effort is an impressive lineup with an atypical horn section, featuring flute, one and often two trumpets, French horn, clarinet, and alto saxophone. A jazz composer who's not afraid to work out the details (noted conductor/composer Gunther Schuller released her second album), Baum writes thoughtful originals; they're filled with lovely melodies, elegant transitions, and interlocking tonalities that create interesting palettes of sounds. This comes to the fore on “Richie’s Lament,” the balladic “The Meeting," and “Ants and Other Faithful Beings.” Baum has traveled as a U.S. cultural ambassador in South Asia a few times in recent years, and that influence appears here in covers of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “The Game” and “Sweet Pain: Nusrat,” as well as her own original also called “Nusrat”; all three stay in the jazz spectrum but highlight tabla player Dan Weiss and incorporate qawwali-centric tones and arrangements. Highly imaginative and highly recommended.