To whoever knows Colette Wickenhagen, or to whoever thinks he does ... all right then: at least to me ...
this cd comes as a great surprise. Colette was, after all, the embodiment of rhythm, of blues, of physical jazz
with an almost tangible impact. On this album, these aspects are still there, but something has been added.
Or better still: one aspect of her art is so much in the foreground that it rises above all other qualities: poetic eloquence. What I was used to in her music, was that it started you moving. The music on this cd makes you sit down and listen breathlessly. And later you realize that it started you moving anyway.
Colette asked me to put on headphones, be inspired by the atmosphere and then write tasty liner notes. I find I cannot. When I listen so intensely - and the music is such that the intensity only increases - words fall short. The joy in music, the sincere delight, refuse to be caught in a catchy text. So the following sentences are to be regarded as resulting from an emergency plan.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the cd box, is of course the repertoire. Fifteen run-of-the-mill,
one might almost say hackneyed, standards. But that is exactly the secret. Colette treats these songs as newly discovered finds. She recites the words and sentences as if from a treasured volume of poetry. She sings the melody as if it comes up spontaneously, perfectly fitting the rhythm and the words of the lyrics. Contradictory though it may seem, it is this almost pristine approach that evokes memories of the earlier tradition.
Memories of Sarah Vaughan now and then, and of Ella Fitzgerald. Fleeting, without emphasis, but the
connection is unmistakable. Colette's singing does not come across as an attempt at imitation or as all too emphatically influenced, but rather as expressing the heartfelt first experience of a new song and its meaningful content. Forget the run-of-the-mill, forget the overly known! That is exactly what Colette did and that is what places her on an equal footing with her illustrious predecessors. That is the connection we hear: authenticity.
I have now listened to the recordings several times and again and again I am struck by new details.
Those elusive, indefinable moments in timing, variation of melodic line, interaction with the contribution of
the saxophone ..., all aspects hard to describe for the guileless listener, but contributing to the distinctiveness of the music.
Of course Colette does not do this all by herself. Clous van Mechelen is such a fantastic counterpart and
the accompaniment of the trio is so solid and inspiring, that risky improvisations were simply bound to emerge.
But that these are invariably brought to a fascinating and successful conclusion is the merit of the singer
who has managed to surprise and captivate us once more.
In these dark days in December I’ve let myself
|HVT / René
Colette Wickenhagen has a certain reputation in the
/ Langs de Lijn / Henk de Boer:
Colette Wickenhagen, who is blessed with a phenomenal voice, forms together with Clous van Mechelen, who’s saxophone playing even when he plays quietly let’s us hear the underlying power, a good couple. If there is ever talk about synergy it must be here. On top of this they are supported on a high level by the varied talented Nick van den Bos on the piano, George van Deijl on the double bass and Menno Veenendaal on the drums, who adapt effortlessly to all the soloists escapades.
Both operate with a large assortment of expressions and with this it is not music that whiffs by like a summer breeze, but instead claims all attention. What I especially like is the spectacular way in which Clous’s tenor supports the singer, sometimes with beautiful ‘tone-carpets’ in the background or in caught up duets in which both of them let us hear that they indeed can play in very different registers. Colette also convinces us that she can scat.
The choice of the 15 songs gives us a lot to recognize without giving you the feeling that it is mainly a standard repertoire. One third is from the giant Cole Porter including the (almost) title song Love For Sale, but apart from that there are songs from Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Carlos Jobim and Jon Hendricks. Here nothing of the refined distinction of Nancy Morano, but more a delicious swinging fiery blanket that covers you nice and warm…
There are those discs which you can never get
Muziekpodia.nl / Jan Klupper:
SONGS FOR SALE
May we say that; the great
Colette? Absolutely. Her enthousiasm and dedication to
Hungary / Czékus Mihály
COLETTE & CLOUS & COMPANY: SONG FOR SALE
The “mysterious” abbreviation Colette & Clous hides the names of the Dutch duo Colette Wickenhagen and Clous van Mechelen. In 1986, Colette exchanged the professional world of dance productions for that of a jazz/blues singer. In the last more than 20 years, she performed with all kinds of formations (duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet and big band).
The saxophone player Clous
van Mechelen has been a central figure within the Northern-European jazz-scene
for a very long time. You will find his name on this album “Song
for Sale” as a musician, producer and sound engineer.
Brasil / Marcelo Tchechenistky
CD – Songs For Sale / Colette Wickenhagen & Clous van Mechelen.
It is difficult to start talking about someone on an artistic journey, who, I think, reaches clear perfection. I speak in this review of COLETTE WICKENHAGEN. The sound of her voice reminds me of those unforgettable Negro female voices from the foundation of the vocal jazz and, in addition, she develops it with an impressive feel for "swing", characteristic for this music of marginal origin, to such a degree of freedom, that her choice for this form of expression commands respect. Colette, in this CD, chose standards that allow her to exhibit that freedom so that, paradoxically, it really touches us. I asked myself, while listening time and time again to this delicious music, if Miss Colette wouldn’t like to explore new roads outside the traditional Jazz, I consider her mastery of this style obtained. She doesn’t do this alone. The group that accompanies her, these four brilliant musicians, make of this CD a masterpiece and they are an example for many vocalists who, wanting to innovate, lose track. I state: Colette is a great one. She deserves to be classified among the select group of Best Jazz Singers in this present time. She is accompanied on this CD by Clous Van Mechelen on saxophone, Nick van den Bos on piano, Menno Veenendaal on drums and George van Deijl on double bass, also executing accordion and vibraphone when it is required. They reach the ideal frame for accompanying Colette. I recommend you to enjoy, especially as an appetizer, “Frim Fram Sauce”, “Night and Day”, and “Can’t we be friends”. Unforgettable. Make sure you get it, the best present you can buy for someone else or for yourself.