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CD Review: Petra Van Nuis and Dennis Luxion "Because We're Night People"

by Hrayr Attarian

Petra van Nuis-voice

Dennis Luxion- piano

On the captivating Because We’re Night People vocalist Petra van Nuis and pianist Dennis Luxion collaborate on thirteen, charming, nocturnal themed songs. Van Nuis’ elegant style and rich voice superbly match Luxion’s resonant and lyrical pianism as the two musicians feed of each other’s spontaneity. They delve deep into the essence of each tune giving it a uniquely personal treatment that is as reflective of their own individual artistry as it is of the original composition.

For instance, on Sonny Burke’s “Black Coffee” van Nuis’ unhurried phrasing glides sensually over Luxion’s simmering refrains. Meanwhile the melancholic interpretation of Matt Dennis’ “The Night We Called It A Day” opens with Luxion’s dramatic cascading notes that echo in silence pauses. Luxion continues to embellish the melody with bluesy hints as he underscores van Nuis’ tender and yearning singing, full of reserved emotion and eloquence.

The dramatic and graceful “Night People”, from the 1959 Broadway show The Nervous Set, brims with a playful yet tense ambience. Luxion embellishes the melody with a soulful sophistication as van Nuis articulates the words with silky smoothness. Elsewhere Luxion plays darkly shimmering lines, like moonlight on the surface of a pond, on this impressionistic take of Chet Baker’s “While My Lover Sleeps”. Van Nuis sings a warm and passionate lullaby over the pianist’s serene and fluid chords.

Because We’re Night People is an album that is both hauntingly atmospheric and filled with creative substance. Thanks to van Nuis and Luxion’s immense talents and seamless camaraderie the music is deeply moving and subtly provocative. In sum it is satisfyingly multilayered disc that delights more with each spin.

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