Fay Claassen


Format: CD
Label: Challenge Records
UPC: 0608917330120
Catnr: CR 73301
Release date: 03 September 2010
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1 CD
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Challenge Records
Catalogue number
CR 73301
Release date
03 September 2010

""High flexability in the scat-singing and a dark timbre is the USP of Fay Claassen. You can really hear the stilistic influences from jazz stars like Ella Fitzgerald"."

Bachtrack, 13-10-2014

About the album

It does say a lot that Fay Claassen is recognized, worldwide, by music critics as a jazz singer of international stature and allure. The greatest jazzdiva of the Netherlands is part of the younger generation vocalists and her new cd one can call 'grand', figuratively ánd literally speaking.

First there is this immense, big orchestra that is accompanying Fay: more than 120 people. In other words this is a BIG Big Band, consisting of WDR Big Band & het Rundfunk Orchester with conducter/arranger Michael Abene. Then there is the repertoire of great female vocal icons: from Ella to Björk and a lot of other famous ladies in between. This all makes the cd a big and extraordinary musical journey around the world. The choice of repertoire makes perfectly clear that Fay Claassen has a very broad musical interest. The fact that she sings also songs of for instance Joni Mitchell and Björk is a very pleasant surprise! Her interpretations are full of conviction and with a high doses of authenticity she makes these songs totally her own.

Cadence in the USA once wrote: “Fay Claassen is to singing what Audrey Hepburn was to the movies: elegant and graceful“. These words are also applicable to this new cd, where women have the leading role. Actrice Audrey Hepburn had a enormous and natural class and that is also a very important characteristic of Fay Claassen.
  • De samenwerking van zangeres Fay Claassen met de fameuze WDR Big Band en het geweldige WDR Rundfunk Orchester, leidde tot haar nieuwe album ‘SING!’
  • Claassen's eerbetoon aan de grote zangeressen: songs van Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, maar ook Björk en Joni Mitchell, allemaal in een Fay Claassen-jasje
  • Kenmerkend voor Claassen zijn haar krachtige timing en haar improvisatietalent
  • Die ongekend zuivere stem, met bij tijd en wijle dat ontroerende roestige randje: Fay heeft alles in huis om haar publiek diep in het hart te raken
  • Met ‘SING!’ heeft Fay Claassen zich definitief bij de internationale jazztop gevoegd
  • Fay Claassen is the exciting new voice on the international jazz scene.” (Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times)
Sie ist zur Jazz-Diva Hollands gereift, zum Aushängeschild des Vocal Jazz des Landes in der ganzen Welt. Fay Claassen spielte nach Abschluss ihrer Ausbildung am Konservatorium von Den Haag mit zahlreichen holländischen Künstlern und wurde schnell bekannt. Der internationale Durchbruch gelang im neuen Jahrhundert, nach ersten Auftritten auf dem North Sea Jazz Festival. Seither spielt sie auf zahlreichen europäischen und amerikanischen Bühnen, Kenny Werner und Mike Stern u.a. waren Gastmusiker bei ihren CD-Veröffentlichungen. Internationale Anerkennung erwarb sie mit ihren 'Portraits of Chet Baker'. Ihre zweite Arbeit mit der Grammy-ausgezeichneten WDR Big Band präsentiert von Michael Abene außergewöhnlich arrangierte Standards. Aber auch ganz besondere Kompositionen anderer Sängerinnen, seien sie aus dem Jazz ('Throw It Away?/Abbey Lincoln, 'Tight?/Betty Carter) oder eher nicht ('Cover Me?/Björk, 'Be Cool?/Joni Mitchell).


Before Fay Claassen (Nijmegen, 1969) started her singing career, she studied ballet and drama, after which she finally opted for singing as her chosen subject. In 1997 she completed her conservatory education in The Hague with distinctions for jazz-timing and improvising ability. After her conservatory period she appeared as vocalist in different groups and toured through different countries in Europe. Her first recording ‘Simply Be’ was released with a band together with the saxophone player Carolyn Breuer. She was guest in different groups ‘The Tony Overwater V-Group’, Loet van der Lee Group, ‘Big Moves’ and with ‘The Amsterdam Jazz Quintet’ she recorded on the album ‘Playground’.

In 1999 Fay Claassen was chosen by ‘The Jazz Impuls Foundation’ as their first selected musician. This foundation supports and promotes jazz musicians deserving wider recognition and produced in that year her first own album (‘With a Song in my Heart’ CHR 70096 (presently sold out)). This album almost instantly nominated for an Edison-Award and was received with highly enthusiastic reviews. It was the first step to a real break-through.
Just after the release of that album she was asked to be part of a tour through Japan with ‘The Historical Dance Theatre’ in which she performed as a dancer and singer. Apart from the wonderful sound of her voice Fay stood out as a singer. She is one of the few to add an extra dimension to her vocal performances, by being able to improvise with her voice as an extremely versatile instrument. Fay is in every setting one of the group as a musician. In 2000 Fay featured on the North Sea Jazz Festival (The Hague) with the Tony Overwater group. She became a teacher at the Conservatory of Rotterdam (CodArt). In 2001, as the only European vocalist, she was chosen and invited by the Selection Committee of The International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) to perform in Los Angeles the next year, and Fay’s second album ‘Rhythms and Rhymes’ (BMCD 380) with Toots Thielemans, Kenny Werner, Mike Stern and Joe Locke, was released. A few months later she recorded this very different 3rd album ‘Specially arranged for Fay’ with The Millennium Jazz Orchestra.

In 2005 she participates in “Two Portraits of Chet Baker, vol.1&2” (BMCD 497), a 2-cd set with Jan Menu, Hein Van de Geyn and John Engels, that received a first ranking in U.S. magazine 'All About Jazz'.



"High flexability in the scat-singing and a dark timbre is the USP of Fay Claassen. You can really hear the stilistic influences from jazz stars like Ella Fitzgerald".
Bachtrack, 13-10-2014

"Claassen heeft een goed gevoel voor tekst, een mooie, mezzo stem en een beheerst gevoel van scat. Ondertussen kan de band een zachte, houtblazers-georiƫnteerd ensemble of een krachtige brass-band zijn.''
, 14-10-2010

Play album


Fay Claassen - the making of - SING!
Fay Claassen - 23 september 2010 - DWDD - Voor aanvang (extra opname)
Fay Claassen - 23 september 2010 De Minuut - DWDD

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