CD DESCRIPTION: Classic jazz vocals backed by five of Chicago's finest musicians in various settings ranging from duo with guitarist Andy Brown to sextet featuring Chicago veterans, trumpeter Art Davis and trombonist Russ Phillips. ARTICLE FROM CHICAGO JAZZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2006 'The Invasion of the Cincinnati Kids' By Judy Roberts I met my first Cincinnati Kid several years ago with the appearance of a beautiful and charming young vocalist named Petra van Nuis. I was frankly surprised by the fact that someone who looked like a wholesome teenage movie star was coming to my gigs and requesting cool, obscure tunes, listening attentively, and - wonder of wonders - not asking to sit in. I was equally impressed that she was also listening to master balladeer Frank D' Rone, and was choosing to hang out with Chicago treasure and longtime queen of jazz phrasing, singer Jeannie Lambert. While other youngish self-anointed local divas are still trying to learn how to 'sing jazz'via the Real Book, here was Petra van Nuis, actually hanging out with the seasoned set, eager to soak up some jazz reality. Since those first meetings, I have had the good fortune to play behind Petra many times. She is delicious to accompany; with her appealing musical personality and beguiling singing style, I find it truly refreshing to play piano for her. In a town loaded with singers, Petra stands out as an unusually intriguing interpreter of great material. Petra relocated to Chicago in 2003 with her husband, and wonderful guitarist, Andy Brown. Like so many of their fellow Cincinnati musician friends, Petra and Andy still talk about their Ohio roots. And these roots always include the formidable influence of the late guitarist, Kenny Poole. Andy, who is currently performing at star-making clubs like the Jazz Showcase, the Green Mill, and various jazz destinations in between, is fast becoming one of Chicago's hottest guitarists. Like his other Cincinnati cohorts, Andy credits Kenny Poole for his love of jazz. His formative musical years having been shaped by Kenny, Andy speaks of him with reverence. 'For a budding guitarist I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the world than with Cal Collins and Kenny Poole in my own backyard,'Andy says. 'The fact that both these superb talents existed there at the same time blows my mind. I've never heard anything better. Kenny, especially, was my main mentor. He taught me everything you could want to know about the art of jazz guitar. It was a real apprenticeship. He never actually 'taught' me anything; he led by example. I feel so fortunate to have had such close interactions with such a great jazz musician. I saw and played with him two or three times a week for years, and I know I'll continue to learn from him, even though he's gone.' Like her husband Andy, Petra also credits Kenny Poole for her interest in jazz. 'I owe it all to Kenny,'she says. 'I was primarily a dancer who did some singing. I was touring with regional musical theater shows while Andy was getting his feet wet in the Cinci jazz scene. Andy was very inspired by the two Cinci master guitarists, Cal Collins and Kenny Poole. Andy would see Kenny every week, and Kenny would recommend all kinds of recordings for Andy to check out -mostly guitar- but also a few singers like Julie London and Blossom Dearie. Being in the musical theater world, I had never heard this kind of stuff, and when I heard it, I flipped! It was exactly what I had always been looking for, because I loved old musicals and standards, but had only heard them sung by people with high, vibrato-laden operatic voices, or big, brassy 'belty' Ethel Merman voices, neither of which I really liked. It was through the recordings that Kenny recommended for Andy (and later through singers like Ann Chamberlain and Mary Ellen Tanner, and other wonderful Cincinnati jazz musicians) that I was exposed to this great music.' Thanks to Petra's eventual exposure to the jazzier versions of the Great American Songbook, she has now developed an impressive repertoire. A star on the rise, she can be seen and hear performing in a multitude of duo and trio settings around Chicago. And Petra has just recorded her first two CDs: her soon-to-be released 'Jackie & Roy-esque'duo collaboration with pianist-singer Brad Williams, called The Revenge of the Kissing Bug (We were recently treated to a wonderful, impromptu preview performance of the title song at my Chambers gig - Petra and Brad are terrific together!); and, her newly released CD, A Sweet Refrain, available now, featuring Andy Brown on guitar, Russ Phillips on trombone, Mike Schlick on drums, Art Davis on trumpet, and bass and arrangements by fellow Cincinnati Kid, Joe Policastro... ...Chicagoans on Cincinnatians: Jeannie Lambert: 'Petra van Nuis approaches songs and their lyrics with her own charming and unique innocence. There's nothing phony or flamboyant, she just sings it like it's written.' Brad Williams: 'Petra's clean, carefully crafted sound and predilection for obscure standards piqued my interest immediately, as did her high energy and sense of humor. I've always been a fan of Blossom Dearie, and Petra certainly incorporates that dry, almost bell-like tone. She is also capable of a soulful delivery a la Peggy Lee.' Article by Judy Roberts, named 'Chicago's Favorite Jazz Woman' by the Chicago Tribune, is a Grammy-nominated pianist/vocalist/recording artist who has been serving the Chicago jazz scene for many years.