Online since August 2002

Young in age only

From the Autumn 2004 issue.

Moving Forward, Standing Still
Moving Forward, Standing Still
By the Jamie Baum Septet

OmniTone Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

By the Kelly Rossum Quintet

612 Sides Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Free to Drive
Free to Drive
By Chris Madsen

Self-released: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends contacting the artist by e-mail.

Back in the day, most music awards – particularly jazz awards – featured a category called "Artist deserving wider recognition." Perhaps they still do.

But the concept of bringing wider attention to deserving musicians is certainly still valid. And two recent releases that have made their way into Turbula's offices showcase a couple of young musicians that not only ought to have a larger audience, but that audience deserves to hear them as well.

Jamie Baum has been around for awhile, releasing her debut as leader, "Sight Unseen," in 1997. But "Moving Forward, Standing Still" is only her second effort, seven years later, as she spends much of her time teaching and playing gigs around New York City.

The flutist would probably be classified as "post-bop," whatever that means. What she is is an improviser, an explorer. Not too far out there – her music mostly remains accessible and melodic. The new album is, according to its back cover, inspired by Bartok, Stravinsky and "other contemporary classical composers," yet the music reminds not so much of 20th century classical as more recent jazz luminaries Henry Threadgill and David Murray.

For this new release, she's surrounded by some top-notch talent. Drummer Jeff Hirshfield combines with bassist Drew Gress to create a wide variety of swirling rhythms. Trumpeter Ralph Alessi contributes a worthy foil to Baum's lead flute on a cover of Trilok Gurtu's "From Scratch." Alessi's flugelhorn and Tom Varner's French horn create a fat, warm tone on "South Rim" that provides a velvety backdrop for Baum's flute and Doug Yates' bass clarinet improvisations.

And actually, the above description pretty much captures the essence of the entire CD: Baum does a truly masterful job of creating sonic textures that match the structure of her songs. The whole is, as mentioned, not too far from what Murray and Threadgill have done. Good stuff, and definitely worth a listen for those of an adventurous spirit.

Trumpeter Kelly Rossum hails from Minneapolis, but plays as sophisticated a brand of soul jazz as anyone on either coast. With a Miles Davis-like mute and a hip-hop influenced backbeat, his second CD, "Renovation," swings freely, easily and comfortably between bop, house, free jazz and chill. It's a new generation of acid jazz, the logical and artistic extension of what US3 started a few years back, melding the instrumentation and improvisation of jazz to the hypnotic rhythms of the latest club sounds.

The best part of his new album is that he's written some great new songs for it. The opening track, "Cheap Cigars," has a memorable little background riff which Rossum plays melody atop of; "Life on Mars" is an aggressive, muscular straight-ahead piece that gets right in your face and never backs down. There are some interesting covers, too – Hendrix's "Little Wing" is turned into an introspective mood piece, while Ornette Coleman's "Bugpowder" is, if anything, more frenetic than the originator's wildest sessions.

Rossum's sophomore effort is brave, fun and listenable – and a near-perfect answer to anyone who claims jazz is dead.

Chris Madsen found us – we didn't find him. The New York City-based tenor saxophonist's first recording, "Free to Drive," isn't even available for purchase anywhere we looked. Nevertheless, this impressive disc has spent a considerable amount of time in Turbula's stereo system – to borrow a phrase from Turbula critic and fiction contributor Michael J. Williams, Madsen blows like a mother.

His solos aren't always focused, he sometimes misses his mark – but the kid just lays it out on every note of every measure.

And he's got a quartet here that plays just as hard as he does. Pianist Adam Birnbaum really anchors Madsen's quartet, with a presence that occasionally threatens to overshadow the leader. Drummer Jeremy Noller plays with a fierce abandon, and Mark Lau's bass is equally driving.

Madsen also shows a nice touch as composer. The melodic theme to the title track is lush and gorgeous, while the bright and brassy "Metal Man" is equally memorable. And dig the sense of humor shown in the title to "I'll Fake Romance."

Music is a tough biz to break into, but Madsen seems to have the requisite chops; he's certainly got the drive.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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