As a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and unique interpreter of the jazz tradition, Camille Thurman is quickly becoming one of the standard bearers for the form, making a considerable and dynamic contribution to the legacy of jazz while paying tribute to its heroes.
Fluid and powerful on the tenor saxophone and highly inventive as a vocalist, she also plays bass clarinet, flute and piccolo. Her rich sax sound has been compared to Joe Henderson’s and Dexter Gordon’s, while her vocal approach — including an impressive scatting ability — has been classified alongside those of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter.
In a few short years, Thurman has shared stages with jazz and R&B luminaries George Coleman, Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, Charles Tolliver, Jack DeJohnette, Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jon Hendricks, Harry Connick Jr., Jon Batiste, Audra McDonald, Diana Krall, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Louis Hayes, Russell Malone, Nicholas Payton, Jacky Terrasson, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Lalah Hathaway, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, among others.
The New York City native has already amassed several distinctive honors for her musicianship: runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, two-time winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and a winner of the Fulbright Scholars Cultural Ambassador Grant, the Chamber Music of America Performance Plus Grant (sponsored by the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation) and the Jazz Coalition Composers Grant, among others. Thurman also has four full-length recordings as a leader to her credit.
Her compositions were featured and performed by her quartet in the ASCAP/The Kennedy Center “Songwriters: The Next Generation” showcase, as well as the Greenwich School of Music “Uncharted” series. She has appeared on BET’s “Black Girls Rock” as the saxophonist and flutist in the All-Star Band. Equally adept as a player and a singer, and recognized for her compositional abilities as well, Thurman has also earned accolades from the media, from Jazz Times to DownBeat, All About Jazz to the New York Times, NPR to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, BET to “Jazz Night in America.”
Thurman toured internationally toured two seasons with the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, becoming the first woman in 30 years to tour and perform full time (2018-2020) with the band. After guesting with JLCO on several shows, including a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and again during the 2017-2018 season as a featured vocalist for the world premiere of the historic work The Every Fonky Lowdown, Thurman was invited to take the tenor saxophone chair for the past two seasons. When she is not touring with JLCO, Thurman is on the road leading her band, the Camille Thurman Quartet. She is also a featured artist with the Darrell Green Trio, with which she has performed at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall and numerous respected international jazz festivals and venues.
Under a Fulbright Scholarship, Thurman was chosen by the U.S. State Department to perform in Paraguay and Nicaragua with her band. She and Darrell Green were selected by American Music Aboard to travel and perform in various African nations, including Cameroon, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Mauritania.
Thurman is endorsed by D’Addario Woodwinds & Co. for reeds, Conn-Selmer Inc. for saxophones and Key Leaves saxophone products.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.