Fay Claassen, Sing! (Challenge)
This is a gem, pairing Dutch jazz singer Fay Claassen’s fine vocals and musicality with Germany’s WDR Big Band Cologne. The project was arranged and conducted by Michael Abene. On three tracks, the 18-piece big band was augmented by the 100-member WDR Rundfunkorchester for added depth and texture.
Keri Johnsrud, All Blue (self-produced)
Chicago-based Keri Johnsrud opens her debut CD with something novel, yet it’s no novelty. She seamlessly sings Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” to the beautiful and distinctive melody of Miles Davis’s “All Blues.” The melding works wonderfully, as does Johnsrud’s cool and casual delivery throughout this project.