PETRA VAN NUIS & DENNIS LUXION
Petra van Nuis, a subtle and inviting jazz singer who is based in Chicago, often teams up with her husband guitarist Andy Brown. However, her most recent recording, Because We Are Night People, is an often-exquisite set of duets (recorded live) performed with the sensitive and inventive pianist Dennis Luxion. As one can guess from its title, most of the selections have something to do with the night, the moon, or nightlife in general.
The majority of the performances, which include such titles as “While My Lover Sleeps,” “Small Day Tomorrow,” and “The Night We Called It A Day,” are ballads although a few (such as “Moonlight Saving Time” and “No Moon At All”) are taken at slightly faster tempos. The singer usually sticks to the lyrics and the melody while improvising through her phrasing. Luxion is quietly supportive but also takes excellent solos and comes up with a few surprising ideas that inspire the vocalist.
None of the 13 songs in their repertoire (except possibly “Black Coffee”) has been overdone through the years with a few (“Night People,” Meredith D’Ambrosio’s “The Piano Player,” and “Shadows Of Paris”) being rarely ever performed elsewhere. All in all, the result is a warm ballad date that even sounds good in the middle of the day.
Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.
Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.