Thursday, November 22, 2018

Petra van Nuis "Because We're Night People"

I'm almost always? affected and sometimes amazed by certain characteristics of some singers. First of all, let's look at the songs of choice. If a few "unlikelies" or delicious obscurities make the list, I have to look more closely. Petra van Nuis has underground items like "Night People", a tune I associate with June Christy. Or how about "The Piano Player (A Thousand And One Saloons)", a gem from singer-pianist Meredith d'Ambrosio. Or consider a delight from Bob Dorough, "Small Day Tomorrow". And while we're at it, there's the intro, rarely sung, to "Street Of Dreams" (which was new to me!). And hats off for "Moonlight Savings Time", a nearly forgotten day brightener that I seem to recall from Billie Holiday. And most importantly, like Lady Day, Blossom Dearie, Lynne Jackson and very few others, Petra conveys the meaning of a lyric in a very direct manner. Other songs in this intimate, live performance include "Dreamsville", "No Moon At All", "The Night We Called It A Day", and "Black Coffee". The accompaniment is limited to the solo piano of Dennis Luxion, who is subtle and a picture of perfection. This is one of those rare recordings that just grabs you and holds on until the last note. Petra van Nuis is a singer who gets it and puts it across to the listener. I hope to hear more from Petra and would suggest this to her: don't change a thing.
String Damper Records; 2018; appx. 59 min.

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