Fay Claassen and the Millennium Jazz Orchestra: Specially Arranged for Fay (2003)
Claassen has to stay on her toes to avoid being upstaged by the MJO and those sparkling arrangements by Reinders, and it’s to her credit that she is able to hold her own and remain squarely in the spotlight. Claassen is comfortable at any tempo, equally charming on ballads (“Very Early,” “Nature Boy,” “A House Is Not a Home,” “When We Were One”), flag-wavers (“Just One of Those Things,” “Love for Sale,” “Giant Steps”) or anything in between (“But Not for Me,” “Speak Low”). Reinders’ charts combine the buoyancy and brilliance of Riddle or May while leaving ample room for solos, with Jan Wessels’ flugel especially impressive on “Love for Sale” and “Giant Steps.”
Others who help brighten the scenery include pianist Hans Kwakkermaat and bassist Bart Tarenskeen (“Very Early”), tenor Gerlo Hesselink and drummer Niek van Wiggen (“One of Those Things”), Kwakkermaat again (“When We Were Young”), trombonist Jeroen Rol (“Speak Low”) and baritone Job Helmers (“Giant Steps”). But the album was Specially Arranged for Fay, and Ms Claassen returns the compliment by showing on every selection that she’s a talented young singer who is definitely on an upward curve. Reinders’ charts fit her like a glove, and vice versa. Add the MJO and the upshot is one of the better big-band-with-vocalist (or vocalist-with-big-band) albums of the year.
Contact: Stichting Jazz Impuls, Middendijk 61, 7397 ND Nijbroek, The Netherlands. www.jazzimpuls.com; e-mail email@example.com
Track Listing: Very Early; Just One of Those Things; Nature Boy; But Not for Me; Love for Sale; When We Were One; Speak Low; Giant Steps; A House Is Not a Home (59:26).
Personnel: Joan Reinders, conductor, arranger; Fay Claassen, vocals; Willy van Diepen, alto, soprano sax, flute; Gerard Grobben, alto, soprano sax, clarinet; Gerlo Hesselink, tenor, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Martin van der Horst, tenor, soprano sax, clarinet; Job Helmers, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Rini Swinkels, Jan Wessels, Bert Fransen, Erik Hilferink, Herman Nijkamp, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jeroen Rol, Henri Gerrits, Gert Nijenbanning, trombone; Eric Westerink, bass trombone; Hans Kwakkernaat, piano; Bart Tarenskeen, bass; Niek van Wiggen, drums.
Record Label: Jazz Impuls