Fay Claassen, Luck Child (Challenge)
With exceptions, the Dutch singer departs from her incomparable interpretations of standard songs to explore contemporary pieces. They include the title tune written by guitarist Leni Stern, originally an instrumental called “Sandbox.” Sentimental and lyrical, it is dedicated to Claasen’s daughter. Claasen gives “One Trick Pony” a lilt in a version slightly slower and more thoughtful than Paul Simon’s 1980 original. Fred Hersch and Norma Winstone’s “Song Of Life” includes Claasen’s joyous vocalizing. Accompanied by pianist Olaf Polziehn, guitarist Peter Thehuis and bassist Ingmar Heller, she caresses Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood.” Three overdubbed Claasens bring a rich density to Kenny Wheeler’s “Fay,” dedicated to her. A flaw: she rhythmically punches up “God Bless The Child,” a song that by its very nature demands sober reflection. Claasen’s wordless intonation of Ennio Morricone’s theme from Cinema Paradiso is a consummate conclusion to an intriguing collection.