August 2009 Convention
New York, NY

Jamie Baum in Concert

Jamie Baum

Jamie Baum (center)

The Jamie Baum Septet presented one of the most interesting jazz performances I have heard at an NFA convention in recent years. Baum’s original compositions played a key role in this performance, as did her thoughtful choice of sidemen and instrumentation. The rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums) was strong, both individually and as a unit. Augmented by a horn section consisting of trumpet, alto sax/bass clarinet, and French horn, Baum herself was in top form playing both the C and alto flutes. After years of being on the jazz scene, Baum has truly evolved into a fine composer, jazz flutist, and bandleader. Jazz composition has a dual purpose; a piece must stand on its own melodically and harmonically, then become a vehicle for jazz improvisation. All of Baum’s compositions did just that. It was a pleasure to witness her creative spirit in action. The septet captured the audience’s attention and held it throughout. Each piece in the program featured various band members throughout the set, showcasing each of these great players. Incorporating into the ensemble the French horn, played by Mark Taylor, was an innovative touch, reminiscent of Gil Evans’ orchestrations. Even though the performance got off to a late start due to technical problems with the sound system, this was truly a fine concert in the real spirit of jazz. Jamie Baum may be applauded for her artistic contribution to the NFA.

—Ali Ryerson