The Jamie Baum Septet+: What Times Are These

Poetry-inspired music from New York flautist has a sometimes funky, sometimes swinging, sometimes elegiac tilt


This is a comprehensive programme of music in which Baum has managed to combine contemporary jazz, rap and poetry readings in one strong album. The septet plays the scores while integrating with the poetry and various vocalists for some striking originals.

Jamie began writing this music when her tour of the USA was cancelled a quarter way through as Covid hit the United States. On the last of her first three gigs, she returned to her New York apartment and began writing music after hearing an internet podcast called “A Poet A Day”. Selecting her favourite poems, she wrote music around the lyrics and recruited vocalists to sing or in some cases read the words along with the music. It is a fascinating recital that should appeal to contemporary jazz and poetry lovers and, quite possibly, classical music enthusiasts.

In The Light Of Day is the first track and it features Ms Baum’s warm flute as the main solo instrument. Sorrow Song is another surprisingly effective track which begins with Kokayi rapping with the music before he begins the poem. Aubrey Johnson sings a wordless vocal as the septet, featuring Jamie’s flute, harmonise behind her. My Grandmother On The Stairs has a lyrical vocal from Sara Serpa as Sam Sadigursky plays wisps of bass clarinet lines behind her. Then Sam takes over for an intense, charging alto sax solo. Dreams is an ethereal piece featuring Jamie on alto flute. At times, this sombre composition suggests nightmares too but in an effective way.

All these charts are interesting and present a programme of contemporary jazz and poetry that is challenging, fascinating and original.

In The Light Of Day; To Be Of Use; An Old Story; In Those Years; What Kind Of Times Are These; Sorrow Song; My Grandmother On the Stairs; I Am Wrestling With Despair; Dreams; In The Day Of Light (72.45)
Baum (f, af, v); Jonathan Finlayson (t, v); Sam Sadigursky (as, cl, bcl); Chris Komer (frh); Brad Shepik (elg); Luis Perdomo (p, elp); Ricky Rodriguez (b, elb); Jeff Hirshfield (d). Theo Bleckman, Kokayi, Sara Serpa, Aubrey Johnson (v); Keita Ogawa (pc).
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