Camille Thurman – Inside the Moment (Chesky)
Camille Thurman’s third release as a leader captures the vocalist and saxophonist’s quartet live at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall. Thanks to Chesky’s binaural technology, the album faithfully reproduces the date’s exciting ambiance.
Sarah Vaughan is an obvious source of inspiration for Thurman. On “Sassy’s Blues,” a cover of a Vaughan classic, she scats with inventiveness and agility, buoyed by her bandmates’ effervescent vamps. Guitarist Mark Whitfield’s crisp, resonant lines engage the singer throughout. And Thurman receives an intimate showcase for her rich, expressive voice on a moving interpretation of “Cherokee,” during which she’s solely accompanied by bassist Ben Allison’s lyrical lines.
Thurman impresses on saxophone, as well. Her tone is raw and reverberating, her style suave and elegant. On Miles Davis’ “Nefertiti,” she improvises with eloquence and passion. Whitfield enhances the mood with a dissonant, simmering solo, while drummer Billy Drummond’s thundering beats and Allison’s thumping bass create a dark-hued atmosphere around the leader’s expressive tenor.
Thurman coaxes sinewy, mordant phrases from her horn. On an intriguing read of “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” she deconstructs the melody with effortless grace and infuses it with captivating ideas, her thrilling performance punctuated by the rhythm section’s rumbling, percolating interjections.
During the course of her short career, Thurman has matured into an evocative singer and sensitive, vibrant instrumentalist. As displayed here, she cultivates her talents equally, refusing to hang up her tenor in favor of her vocals for perhaps a greater commercial payoff.
— Hrayr Attarian