Charmaine Clamor was terrific in her first Colorado appearance Jan. 28 at the Broomfield Auditorium. The Philippines-born, US-raised jazz singer, who does a fine job singing the classic song catalog but adds a layer of unique talent by bringing her jazz singing chops to traditional Filipino songs as well as original music and lyrics in Tagalog. The 300-seat auditorium, one of the best rooms of its size in the metro area for sound and ambience, wasn’t quite full but I bet next time Clamor comes to the area, word of mouth will bring in a full house. Kudos to KUVO, the jazz public radio station, for supporting the show, and to the Filipino American Community of Colorado, which brought her here as much for her Pinay presence as for her music.
Clamor’s a natural entertainer, connecting effortlessly with her audience — even though many of us were new to her rich talent — and getting people to fuel her performance. Some audience members from the local Filipino community were familiar with her, because she’s an adopted daughter of every Filipino community across the country. She’s also an incredibly controlled vocalist who can stretch out or squeeze a note to suit her syncopation. I’m glad I got to know her music a little before she came to town, and I’ve since completed my library of all four of her albums.
Accompanied by a killer rhythm section aptly named “The Killin’ Sweethearts” that she brought from her home in LA, and filled out with tight local horn players, the music was flawless all evening. The highlights for us were the two songs below, the first her take on “My Funny Valentine,” “My Funny Brown Pinay,” an assertion of ethnic identity and pride, and Minamahal Kita,” a traditional song sung in Tagalog with a gentle swing, accompanied by stellar ukulele playing by Clamor’s Guam-born, Hawai’i-raised drummer and musical director, Abe Lagrimas.
Clamor’s off to play back home in LA in support of her new album, “Something Good” (and it is), and Boston in March. In between she’s off to Manila to play the Philippines International Jazz Festival. Sometime in the future, I hope she can return to Colorado.