I hope you had a wonderful summer. I’ve been on hiatus for a while and just getting around to writing my newsletter. Over the past nine months, I’ve been keeping busy with several projects, and am excited to share some good news. This year has been a whirlwind; from touring and performing with the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra to performing and traveling with my band. A lot has happened and I am truly grateful.
I won two Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album (Waiting For The Sunrise) and Fan Vote Favorite for Jazz Vocal Song (“Nearness of You”). I also received my first Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll nomination for Rising Star Tenor Saxophone and was nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album for my latest project.
I can’t wait to share with you what’s in store, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Remembering A Giant
I never had the opportunity to meet the great Clora Bryant, who recently passed in August 2019 at the age of 92. I, like so many women, would not be here if it wasn’t for her sacrifices and her legacy. Clora Bryant is a name that should be in the history books. She was a trumpeter, vocalist, educator, and pillar of the Los Angeles jazz scene. She was considered one of the finest jazz musicians of the west coast but experienced gender-biased limitations throughout her career.
Ms. Bryant was prominent during the 1940s, blossoming through the bebop movement along with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie. She faced discrimination, lack of support from major record labels and agents which unfortunately delayed her coming forth as a recognized and respected bandleader on the scene until she reached middle age. Dizzy Gillespie recognized her as his protégé. He once said, “If you close your eyes, you’ll say it’s a man playing. She has the feeling of the trumpet; not just the notes.”
By the time she broke off to become a bandleader in the ‘70s and ‘80s, mainstream jazz had advanced, and other styles such as fusion became popular. As jazz history became recognized in academia during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, she, along with many women were left out and rarely celebrated or accepted at the level of their male peers.
Ms. Bryant was part of the infamous “International Sweethearts of Rhythm” in the 1940s, a leading all-female big band. She was known as one of the star soloists of the Sweethearts. Later, she was part of the “Queens of Rhythm” and became the drummer for the band once the drum chair became vacant. She was known to be a show-stopper; playing drums and the trumpet at the same time.
During the 1950s, Ms. Bryant regularly led jam sessions around Los Angeles and at one time backed legends Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. She devoted the majority of her life to mentoring younger musicians. She was a true jazz ambassador at heart, who became the first lady horn player to be invited to [Russia] to perform via an invitation from Mikhail S. Gorbachev after the U.S. and Russia ended the Cold War.
(Parts of this text were adapted from the New York Times )
Clora Bryant was a legend and a hero. She has broken down the doors, paved the way and bridged the gap for so many musicians, like myself. Her legacy lives on. Thank you “Momma” Clora for your love of the music and your dedication to being a voice for so many.
Rest in Heavenly Peace
Clora Larea Bryant (May 30, 1927- August 23, 2019)
Camille Kicks Off Her Second Season With The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra 2019-2020
To say this year has been incredible is quite an understatement. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of performing, touring and recording with the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis for the 2018-2019 season. During that year, I’ve traveled to Singapore, China (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Beijing, Shenzhen), Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne), France (Marciac), and Brazil (São Paulo) as well as the U.S. I experienced some fantastic moments with the Orchestra and the audiences. It has been a blessing to share the music we call Jazz with the world and also be in a place where I can exchange with young students, particularly young women. By far, this has been one of my biggest honors.
I look forward to what the new season brings. Stay tuned for upcoming tour updates. We kicked-off the 2019-2020 season at Jazz at Lincoln Center (September 12-14), celebrating the "South African Songbook" at the Rose Theater in New York City. If you’re in town, please come through. For ' more information on the "South African Songbook: Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy, click HERE.
After the season-opening show in New York City, we will travel to South Africa and perform at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival (September 26-28). Be sure to visit my Facebook and Instagram for updates, videos, photos, and more. For more information on the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, click HERE
South African Songbook