Rifftides reader Ty Newcomb sent a link to video of the Dutch singer Fay Claassen doing Gerry Mulligan’s “Line for Lyons.” After enjoying it, I noticed that YouTube has another version of the piece by The Dave Brubeck Quintet. What to do? Why, show you both, of course.
First, we see and hear the composer with Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Jack Six and Alan Dawson at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1972. The director goes berserk with reverse zooms out of the stage lights, but a little dizziness is a small price to pay for a fine performance. Brubeck enjoys the work of his compadres and joins them in a round (so to speak) of counterpoint. Mulligan, sporting his old-man-of-the-mountains look that year, wrote and recorded the tune in the key of G 20 years before, but Desmond preferred it in B-flat and that’s where they play it here.
If you’re keeping track, Fay Claassen also chooses B-flat. She plays Chet Baker to Jan Menu’s Mulligan in an arrangement that thrives on tempo changes. Hein van de Geyn is the bassist. John Engels is on drums.
Among her other accomplishments, Ms. Claasen is a Chet Baker specialist. This double CD is devoted to her interpretations of his trumpet solos and his vocals.