For Charmaine Clamor, music can be divided into two categories: the good stuff and everything else. Genres don’t matter as long as that passion, that fire, is part of the equation.
With Something Good, the Filipino-American vocalist’s newest record, she sets out to zero in on what makes the good stuff tick and, in the process, delves deeper into the blend called “jazzipino.”
I first discovered the affectionate blend of American jazz, Filipino folk, soul, pop, and blues with Clamor’s Flippin’ Out. An endlessly entertaining piece of work, Flippin’ Out found the singer digging deep into the realm of possibilities. She came out swinging.
Something Good continues the journey in style, with Clamor offering up earthy, solid tunes that work through a large swath of genres and avenues. It carries a lot of similarities to Flippin’ Out, but it is every bit its own animal at the same time. The pacing is fantastic and Clamor’s undeniable appetite for the groove is present in each and every tune.
Mother Earth takes centre stage on Something Good and it’s clear that Clamor cares for the planet. The tray the CD sits in is made from potatoes, for crying out loud!
This environmental mindfulness is elevated with the record’s fundamental piece, the “Mother Nature Suite.” Made from three tunes (“Motherless Ili-Ili,” “Let’s Take a Trip” and “Flow”), the work is a spectacular reminder of the world we share and the importance of taking our planet seriously. “Flow,” with its wild Brazilian flavour, manages to do the whole children’s choir thing without sounding cheesy.
“Feelin’ Stevie” is a favourite of mine. With its funky gospel flow and Eli Brueggemann’s bouncy contribution, the song is a head-nodding good time that lets Clamor stretch her vocals out. And “Doodlin’ in Taglish” is another perfect mixture of styles that coasts over a subtle bounce and gathers steam as it rolls along. Bassist Dominic Thiroux gives it some hip lines.
Something Good is another slick, sensual, funky recording from one of jazz’s rising stars. Its affectionate concoction of styles and genres is wonderfully inebriating. Not content to settle for “everything else,” Clamor cheerfully serves up heaping spoonfuls of the really, really good stuff with this one.