Sunday, November 16, 2008

Baum-ing A Ride Down the Third Stream

Jamie Baum Septet @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jamie Baum: flutes
Ralph Alessi: trumpet
Doug Yates: alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Chris Komer: french horn
Aaron Goldberg: piano
Johannes Weidenmueller: bass
Jeff Hirshfield: drums

Jamie Baum is a composer. The flute is her instrument, and the septet is her medium for fleshing out conceptual structures that turn on heady ideas, odd metric turns and arrangements that feature the New York caliber talent that can swing with the best of them. Pianist Aaron Goldberg in particular often built up solos out of fragments and patterns from the compositional form that displayed a knack for building solos out of large slabs of ideas with Monk-like ingenuity and impishness. The ensemble writing featured interlocking parts with a strong focus on the ideas, rhythm and melodic impulse behind the music.

The highlight of the evening came in the second set with an exceptionally creative arrangement and adaptation of The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives - a work that is sacred in the HurdAudio canon. The impulses that animate this orchestral work were adeptly applied to the septet with a recording of speeches and musings on questions and answers as the spiritual application of the off-stage elements employed in the symphonic piece. Hearing the signature trumpet line of The Unanswered Question transformed into a riff over a pulsing ensemble texture was incredibly satisfying.

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