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Jamie Baum Septet: Bridges (Sunnyside)

Review of album from flutist/composer

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Cover of Jamie Baum Septet album Bridges on Sunnyside
Cover of Jamie Baum Septet album Bridges on Sunnyside

For many, religion is the most divisive of matters. For flutist-composer Jamie Baum, however, it turns out to be the ultimate unifier. On this fourth album from her expandable septet, Baum explores the musical common denominators beneath different ancient belief systems. Offering touches of modernization while remaining steadfast in honoring core values, Baum creates a world where sonic and spiritual resonance rest on an even plane.

Opener “From the Well” serves as the prime example of the merger between forms within faiths. Baum’s band works with a scale endemic to Jewish, Maqam and South Asian music, a lingua franca that instantly eradicates boundaries. All becomes one as jostling grooves support alluring explorations. A midtrack melee ensues, giving trumpeter Amir ElSaffar his day, but the music coalesces as it builds back toward its conclusion. Even in its most unsettled state, there’s a pronounced sense of purpose lighting the way.

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