Love is in the air on trumpeter, vocalist and composer Kate Hamann’s debut album as a band leader. Momentary Beauty tells the story of a romantic relationship – from the dancefloor to doubts, daydreams and the deathbed. It’s an ambitious concept with a high risk of sugary melodramatics. But 23-year-old Hamann navigates the pitfalls and possibilities with a steady hand.
The first track, Butterflies, kicks off the affair with a Latin flourish. It’s a boppish number over a sprightly samba rhythm. Hamann takes the first solo, dancing around the harmonic possibilities before an unexpected vampy conclusion rounds off the track.
Hamann’s confident and confiding vocals first appear on What Love Could Be. The composition flitters between adrenaline and introspection, skipping from down-in-the-dumps to head-in-the-clouds and back again. Accomplished alto and trumpet solos float over another gentle Latin beat.
The love story reaches its plot twist during the title track. The band offers a free improvisation here, with a pattering drumbeat and straining horns that rise and fade until Hamann’s narrator reveals that the object of the album’s affections, like Romeo and Juliet, has kicked the bucket.
Momentary Beauty is constructed around a bold concept, and its honesty and candour are refreshing. On a musical level, Hamann’s vocal and brass contributions are rich and rounded, her compositions revealing an old-soul sensitivity grounded in the post-bop lexicon. The result is sweet and serious, and enough to set hearts racing.
Butterflies; What Love Could Be; Daydream; Daydream (Reprise); Stepping Stones; Cherish You; Momentary Beauty; Songs We Used To Sing (38.24)
Hamann (t, flh, v); Jason Arkins (as, ts); Angel Perez (p); Diego Melgar (g); Mike Ramos (b), Max Marsillo (d). Miami, USA, 2022.