CD info
CD info

As most af the reviews are in Dutch, we've worked on the translation
of some of them. The originals can be viewed on the review page on the Dutch site.




By: Czékus Mihály / Hungary

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.

The album counts a 15 numbered, with care put together collection of jazz standards. The title of the album is an allusion to the song “Love For Sale” by Cole Porter – also in this album. In the collection the songs of Porter are in the majority, five compositions are of his name. Besides Porter there are songs from Hendricks (“No More Blues”), by Ellington (Ï Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”) ‘till Holliday (“That Old Devil Called Love”) from almost every “big one” there is something to listen to.

The band is imbued with enthusiasm. The listener doesn’t really realize where he is on the ‘ladder of presence’, because the band makes it seem very live-like. Sometimes everything seems so true to live, that the listener makes the mistake of gesticulating to the waiter for a glass as if he’s in a hot jazz club. The “Songs For Sale” CD is a good example for showing/hearing how many new colours and possibilities still lay hidden in the uncountable variations of jazz evergreens already out there.

Musicians: Colette Wickenhagen / vocal, Clous van Mechelen / saxophone, George van Deijl / double bass, Menno Veenendaal / drums and Nick van den Bos /piano.

Record company: Munich Records (Nederland)


Írta: Czékus Mihály

A "titkos", Colette & Clous rövidítés Colette Wickenhagen és Clous van Mechelen,
holland kettos nevét rejti. Colette 1986-ban a muvészi szinten muvelt
táncprodukciók világát "cserélte el" a jazz/blues énekesi szerepért. Az elmúlt
több, mint 20 év alatt szinte a leheto összes zenei formációval (duó, trió, quartet,
quintet, sextet és big band) fellépett már.

A szaxofonos Clous van Mechelen hosszú ido óta központi figurája az észak
európai jazz életnek. A neve a "Song For Sale" címet viselo albumhoz
muzsikusként, producerként és hangmérnökként is kötodik.

Az album egy gondosan válogatott jazz standard gyujtemény, szám
szerint 15 dallal. A lemez címe - a szintén hallható - Cole Porter a "Love For
Sale" mintájára született. A kollekcióban Porter muvei vannak túlsúlyban, öt
szerzemény kötodik a nevéhez. Mellettük Hendricks-tol ("No More Blues"),
Ellington-on keresztül ("I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good") Holliday-ig
("That Old Devil Called Love") szinte minden "nagytól" hallható valami.

Határozottan lelke van a csapat muzsikájának. Meg sem fordul a hallgató fejében,
hogy mérlegelnie kellene, hogy hol a hangzás helye a jelenlétérzet-skálán, hiszen
életnagyságban manifesztálódik elotte az együttes. Néha annyira életszeru az egész,
hogy elfeledkezve a helyszínrol a hallgató majdnem int a pincérnek egy italért, ahogy
egy forró légköru jazz klubba vizualizálja magát. A "Songs For Sale" jó példa arra,
hogy mennyi új színt és lehetoséget rejtenek még magukban a már számtalan
variációban hallott jazz örökzöldek.

Közremuködnek: Colette Wickenhagen / ének, Clous van Mechelen / szaxofon,
George van Deijl / nagybogo, Menno Veenendaal / dobok és Nick van den Bos /

Kiadó: Munich Records (Hollandia)
Honlap: www.colettewickenhagen.nl




By: Marcelo Tchechenistky / Brasil

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.


  CD – Songs For Sale /
Colette Wickenhagen & Clous van Mechelen.

Es difícil ponerse a hablar de alguien que, en el camino artístico que transita,
considero que ha llegado a rozar la perfección. Me refiero en esta crítica a
Colette WICKENHAGEN. Su registro de voz es equiparable al de esas inolvidables
inauguradoras del canto en el jazz y, además, ella lo desenvuelve con un “swing”
que impacta con un halo de libertad, distintivo de esta música de origen marginal
que ganó su respeto exactamente por buscar esa forma de expresión. Colette, en
este CD, eligió los standards que le permiten exhibir esa soltura que,
paradójicamente, nos atrapa. Me pregunté mientras escuchaba, una y otra vez ,
estas obras deliciosas, si Miss Colette no tendría que explorar nuevos caminos
fuera del jazz tradicional, dado que su maestría en este estilo la considero lograda.
No está sola para esto. El grupo que la acompaña, estos cuatro músicos brillantes,
hacen de este CD una obra maestra y de referencia para muchas vocalistas que,
queriendo innovar, pierden el rumbo. Lo afirmo: Colette es una grande. Merece
ser considerada entre el selecto grupo de las mejores cantantes de jazz de la
actualidad Está acompañada en este CD por Clous Van Mechelen en saxo,
Nick van den Bos en piano, Menno Veenendaal en batería y George van Deijl
en contrabajo, también ejecutando acordeón y vibráfono cuando le es requerido,
que consiguen un marco sonoro ideal para acompañar a Colette. Recomiendo
disfrutar especialmente como aperitivos “Frim Fram Sauce”, “Night and Day”
y “Cant we be friends”. Imperdible. Consíganlo, es el mejor regalo que pueden
hacer y hacerse.

Marcelo Tchechenistky




Reactions from visitors:


Polina Sveridova (jazz singer):
Colette Wickenhagen- her performance made a big impression on me.
It seems like she can do anything and does so effortlessly.
You can see she’s had caberet schooling.

Anatoli Saznef (doctor and musician):
Colette’s performance was the logical conclusion of the festival.
She like a hurricane, she warmed the whole audience with her
unbelieveble temperament. Wonderful and strong choice of her songs.
She has a lovely repertoire and perfect performance and her band
was also wonderful.

Elena Birukova- Radio ‘Russian voice, showeditor Jazzshow:
All the foreign performers were unbelievably good.
Each had her own style and jazzworld wich they opened to the public.
The festival was perfect.

Alla Len (bezoeker):
We ( my friends and my grandma) ) have been at the concert in Moscow
where you participated with your group. So you were the BEST there and
what is more – really fantastic!! We have had such pleasure of listening
and watching your performance! Thank you for coming in Moscow!
May we hope
to see you again here? ( It was really funny when the
compere announced the surname of the drummer as a typically Dutch one).
I tried to find your DVD also but I haven't succeeded( You should release a
DVD of your concert because it's so pleasant to watch you performing!
And it's a pity that there's not much of information about your creative work!
(Artists should learn from you to perform at the stage!).


Dr. Sergey (bezoeker):
Dear Colette!
Thanks for your songs and the fire, than you demonstrated in
Tver Philharmonic Hall, Russia.




Utrecht's Newspaper, monday 23 may 2005

Amersfoort rises convincingly out of the ashes

… She has a voice like a luxuriously upholstered bridal suite. Pleasant, sumptuous, warm. Complete with exciting nooks and soft carpets in subdued shades.
Colette Wickenhagen, one of the shiners of Amersfoort jazz, blossomed into the complete jazz diva with her elastic timbre, almost unlimited technique, playful improvisations, penetrating interpretation of the lyrics and remarkable radiation.
Because a cd doesn't do her justice, this spectacular en mature talent is not widely known. You have to experience her. On the stage she comes alive. In Amersfoort, she was beaming; she was whirling and dancing and seemed to want to hug all the spectators, one by one.
Those spectators really knew how to find her; even though she wasn't announced anywhere, Sammy's Bar was filled with admirers, friend and colleague's. She seems to have a relatively small but loyal group of fans at her disposal….

… A subdued saxophone player like Ad Coolen could give a quiet concert before an attentive and big audience. After which it was left to extrovert stage animals - take Colette Wickenhagen and Hans Dulfer - to set the place on fire elsewhere, around midnight….




CD review: October 2003

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.




Colette en Clous

© Het Parool, 27-11-2003

One question remained, last night in the Parool Theatre. Why isn't the name Colette Wickenhagen common knowledge for the Dutch audience? What a voice. ''The Dutch Cleo Laine,'' according to a visitor. Maybe the cold she had, which made her voice a little huskier than usual, had a little to do with it. But it is defenitely an honorary title she deserved.

Colette sang, accompanied by 'our' New Trio a few pieces from the new cd which was recently released in Amsterdam Noord at a concert she had with Clous van Mechelen & Company: Songs for Sale. Jazz classics in a relaxed mode. ''If you don't feel the need to be a renewer, it's better to be honest about it,'' according to Van Mechelen on the cover. He stays a Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Stan Getz en Johnny Griffin fan, just to mention a few. ''The way these people play, is the reason I make music.''


''Maybe, but in a real jazz-mood.''

Together with The New Trio he took care of the first part of the program. ''As it should be with a real star,'' according to singer/guitarist Nick van Gasteren.

A little jazz, a little rock, a little bebop and an ounce Chet Baker, with bass/guitarist Tom Kwakernaat as the Dutch variation to a singing Chet.

Van Mechelen played sax and piano sometimes both at the same time and Colette took care of the feature of the program, with songs from Cole Porter and other classic giants. At home she grew up with music. ''We listened to Benny Webster, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and many other wonderful musicians.''

That's where her love for this timeless repertoire started. ''Clous cherished the same love and that brought us together.''

For the lover it was, in short, an evening of musical recognition. And as the evening progressed the enthusiasm grew.

Why isn't this woman on the stage of Carré,'' uttered a new fan with a sigh, who then immediately bought a new cd, so that she can at least be heard at home, with pieces like Night and Day, Love for Sale and a classic which according to Wickenhagen herself was very appropriate for the Parool Theater: You'd be so nice to come home to.

As far as we're concerned our door is always wide open.





Part of the text of the book out of the cd "The Kick of the Blues", and out of a review, both written by Jan Rensen, 1994.

Colette Wickenhagen.
Even if we would call Colette Wickenhagen just a singer, we wouldn't do het any justice at all. Even if we don't see her, if we only listen to the music on this cd, we can hear that she does a lot more than just use her vocal cords.
She is one piece of dynamite that can make any stage rock and ex-plode. She just forces the audience to listen. In vieuw of the varied course of her career, it is not so strange. She studied successively at the Conservatoir in The Hague (NL), the Arts Educational Scool in London / Tring Park (GB), at the renowned (amongst ex-students the cherished as well as notorious) Nel Roos Academy and the Art of the Cabaret Academy in Amsterdam.
Furthermore she worked as a dancer with the ballet company Intro Dans (NL), as an actrice in the tv-series "De weg naar Peruwelz" (TROS / NL), as a Dramatic Arts & Musical teacher at cultural centres in Nijmegen and Harderwijk (NL) and as a singer in her own ensembles as well as in other peoples bands, ranging from trio's to big bands.
Of course she brings this enormous amount of stage experience with her; she knows how to move, how to send the right mimicry, in short she knows how bodylanguage can enhance her musical expression.
Still, while performing she gives a lot more than just a professional sophisticated show; she gives herself.

That enormous physical expressiveness, the willingness to throw herself deeply into a song, the art of swingingly taking in tow a full concert hall, is part of her being. From the top of her head to the tip of her toes, she ís music.
Even if we have to "make do" with just listening to this cd, she is an almost tangible presence. Especially since she won the Soloist / Polaroid Award in 1990 together with the Big Band Nijmegen, and was awarded the Breukelen Jazz Award in 1992, people often asked in vain about a cd of this impressive singer. The cd was ofcourse taped 'live' in the intimate jazz club atmosphere of the eminent CNM Studio in Hilversum (NL), situated in a stylishly altered farmhouse.
It is only logical that Colette Wickenhagen in her choice of repertory had a preference of songs that fit in with her extrovert radiation; bob-pieces saturated in blues like the swinging "Love me or leave me", the overly well known but still freshly interpreted "Cheek to Cheek", the humorous "I was born to be blue", or the passionate and in a somewhat slower tempo sung "Nature Boy". But also real ballads fit well into her program. You only have to listen to "Billie's Blues", (it is no coincidence that the word blues was used in the title of this cd) or with the slightly latin touch brought "The Shadow of your Smile".
After the warmly coloured "'Round Midnight" with the melancholy sound of Jan Verwey's mouth-organ - which is the last song on this cd - there's only óne possibility left; to just start the cd all over again.






There was one, who almost 'stole the Show': Colette, who was asked spontaniously to sing along.
Who with 'smokey blues' in her voice and a light Dutch accent in her English, became the surprise of the evening.
Together with the brilliant Ingolf Burkhard, 1st trumpet player of the NDR Big Band and Joja Wendt, there suddenly sprang into existence a formidableTrio on the stage, that carried you away on their improvisations.




18-06-2001 / Enschede

Blues singer Colette Wickenhagen acted as the real 'seasoning' this evening. The singer, short in stature, had a great voice that left no-one untouched.

Luckily they saved the best for last. Without detracting from the merits of the orchestra, Colette Wickenhagen 'stole' the show. With numbers like
I was born in love with you
and Route 66, she immediately captured the hearts of all those present. The SBE performed in Big Band style a first-class role as the accompanying band.





"As well as being a jazzlady I am also a homebody"

When Colette Wickenhagen (40) from Amstelhoek starts to sing, she manages to silence even the noisiest pub. Her strong melodious alto voice en extrovert presentation make even jazz-haters listen with attention."Presentation is so important, that I'd rather hear a singer who hasn't got a grand voice, but who can really recite well.I often hear from the layman: you know, I don't even like jazz, but what you're doing is very nice."

"I am a real performing artist. That's what I like best: energetic performances from beginning to the end. I don't treat the band like an orchestral tape; jazz is about the interaction."Love for jazz music was installed in her from a very young age. Daddy Wickenhagen played the drums, saxophone and piano. "I grew up with Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald en Ben Webster," she says.
Her childhood story makes one think of a story in a girls-magazine Tina.
Wickenhagen sweated a lot in ballet classes and became so good that she fulfilled a girls dream of getting accepted at the ballet academy of the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague (NL).Initially she wanted to dance, not so much sing.
"Classical ballet was my first real passion and I was prepared to do anything for that.
At thirteen I got the advice to also start dancing in jazz and show-musical classes."

Teachers soon saw that acting and singing were also strong assets in her and they send her to the Arts Educational School in England."Just outside London I followed an all-round musical study. There I was taught that technique is only a means to an end, it should not be the ultimate goal, but a means to that goal.
At the Dutch Conservatoires, presentation does not have an Important place. They forget to teach how to be able to let go of technique and theory.Back in the Netherlands she went to the Nel Roos Dance Academy in Amsterdam. And, eager to learn as she was, to the Cabaret / Small Arts Academy. After that she got work as a professional dancer with the dance company Intro Dans. In between all that she taught jazz and classical ballet classes. Everything went fine until she got a bad injury and even ended up in a wheelchair for a year and than two more years on crutches. "I got a tendency infection in both ankles which I really underestimated. Initially I went on dancing, but there came a moment when because of the pain it was impossible to carry on."
The then 23-year old dancer had to reconcile herself with the fact that it was the end of her dancing career.
"Actually it was my brother doing that I started to sing. He was an enormous jazz fan and took me to a jazz jam-session. We heard a pianist who played in the exact style my father used to play.

I found that I new a lot of the repertoire and was able to sing along with many a song. Only I didn't know anything about he form of jazz music. Had to learn from scratch." Wickenhagen immediately got the attention from the director of the Big Band Nijmegen, who was sitting in the audience.

"He asked me if I was interested in becoming the lead singer of the orchestra, and that's how it all started. With them we won the Polaroid Award and I won the Soloist price."

She has become a much sought after jazz singer and has since sung with many well known national and international celebrities.I've also done a couple of projects with the Royal Dutch Airforce Orchestra. Singing with a big band is very different from singing with an intimate combo. But I love doing both."Most of the songs she sings are so-called jazz standards, 'classics'."I don't have one favorite song, but some songs do have special emotional value for me. 'Round Midnight' for example, with the pain of a broken relationship. And 'the Shadow of your smile."I had sung that song at my fathers funeral. But everybody recognizes this.´"I actually was taught most (and best!) by Frank Sanders. He was working at the Small Arts Academy and taught me that the most important rule on a stage is being honest. Show real emotions with your body as well as your voice. Especially when you are acting."Her acting talents weren't lost. She played a role in a TV movie "The way to Peruwelz" and she worked for many years as an entertainer, actrice and vocalist with a party company that specialized in big corporate theme party's.Singing a leading role in a musical like Chicago or doing a one-woman show seems to be cut out for her "That's definitely one of my wishes," she sighs.Apart from being a singer and actress, wickenhagen is also mother of daughter Sunita (14) and son Lowi who is almost two years old. With help of her husband Ger Lohuis she can combine motherhood well with her stage-life. "Apart from being a jazzlady in glitter dresses I am a normal homebody too. Great, on the sofa in my camping smoking (training suit)."




December 1999


Colette Wickenhagen, blessed with enormous radiation and vocal talent, kept the memory of Betty Carter alive with her improvisations, without giving away her own identity as a singer.
And that's not all: Wickenhagen is a customary nice person, who knows why the audience is there and who gives them what they want in the fullest measure. Listening to her, gives many in the audience the idea that the songs are personally dedicated.....