“That’s the thing,” says van Nuis. “One purpose of making music, of what we do, is to bring people together, to be part of humanity.”
Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
“I always see every gig as a chance to hire someone more experienced than me and to learn something,” says van Nuis of her seasoned colleagues. “All those guys have such a history — all the people they’ve played with! My idea of good leadership is to get people that you believe in, that you love, that you trust, and then kind of cut them loose, let them do their thing.”
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“I enjoy when the magic happens…the real magic that occurs when everybody’s listening to each other and the audience really hears something…When you really feel that sincere emotion…that moment when you really connect with yourself, the other musicians, the audience. When you feel those sparks fly…every time you take a chance and you release yourself and surrender in your brain—that little critical voice stops yapping at you.”
Rita Juanita Mock, Jazzgroupiez
“I don’t know what it is about us, but we’ve always hung out with people older than us,” van Nuis says. “It is an amazing thing to see and hear those of a previous generation still so vital and still growing creatively. It is so inspiring.”
Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
Reminiscent of the immortal Blossom Dearie, her sound is poetic and light but not without evoking a true depth of experience and tone that is undeniably the real thing…Ms. van Nuis nods to her experience in learning to sing jazz as “more the way it used to be done, where you just kind of find people in your town that you dig and follow them around.”
Patrick Romanowski, Evanston RoundTable
If we lived in a rational world, you would be declared a national treasure. Many thanks, Petra, for helping to keep good music alive in this melody-hostile world.
Roger Crane, Song Scout
The extremely talented Chicago jazz vocalist, Petra van Nuis always leaves her audience stunned. She unearths music so intimate and filled with emotion that the entire audience cannot help but feel her sincerity.
Alice Alviani, owner of Joplin’s Java and Ragtime Cafe
My absolute gratitude to you and Andy for a terrific evening. Once in a great while, a program transcends a nice library event and becomes something far more memorable; a moment where I feel truly lucky to be part of it (like the rest of the world might be burning down in chaos, but for our little group everything is perfect). And you and Andy provided that last night.
Craig Pierce, librarian at Clarendon Hills Public Library
We live in a world where excess means success. You have to sell millions of copies. You have to do concerts for a million people. You have to sing at a million decibels. Petra van Nuis comes from another world…from a world where less is more. From a world where we hear in music only the essential: elegance, melody, pleasure. She is a perfect reincarnation of the great singers of 50’s, but she has her own style. She has perfect timing, phrasing, and she is sweet and gentle as only a few singers are nowadays. If you live in a peaceful and quiet world, she will be the perfect soundtrack for your life. If you live in a world of excess, rebel: it’s time to relax and hear Petra sing.
Roberto Callage, Brazilian record producer
Every night should be like last night – well attended with jazz fans for classic performers like Petra. I told some of the patrons that listening to Petra was reminiscent of Spring – fresh, innocent, playful…just starting out life’s endeavors with the wide eyed naivate of first love.
Katerina Carson, owner of Katerina’s
You are so unique as an artist with an ability to convey the essence of every song you choose to sing. Your concert was an emotional experience for our audience as I’m sure you could feel from their reaction.
George Fendel, promoter Classic Pianos concert series
Petra delivers a lyric line in a manner that makes you appreciate its meaning. What a refreshing experience to hear someone sing like the words mean something. Listen to Petra’s revealing interpretations and discover fresh nuances of the music some have begun to take for granted.
Nate Lawrence, Director of Polyrhythms
I have to tell you that I was really moved by the way you sang. I was transported. Though I’ve listened to songs like “Autumn in New York” before, I really heard the words for the first time, heard the story, felt the emotions, saw the quality of the light on the buildings that fall day. I appreciated the art of it, the intimate sharing of what it means to be human!
Susan Rohrback, fan
I’m listening to “A Sweet Refrain” for the 12,471st time or so. “Moonlight Becomes You” came on, grabbed me as usual, and I had to suddenly fight off tears. Most every song on that album has bullet-proof impact that never gets old.
Jon Hansen, fan
We Chicagoans owe you and your fellow musicians for what you brought to the Jazz Showcase last night. You’re The Top!
Ira Weiss, fan
You started my day with a smile as I relived Friday evenings’ entertainment. I was mesmerized by your performance. I only wish it could have lasted longer. It seemed that you were playing just for me. It was truly an enjoyable evening.
William Wynn, fan
Just wanted you to know that your performance on Friday was amazing!! Flawless!! Simply well done. First performance where all of my emotions were touched. You really do make music come alive. Beautiful voice!!
Ken Harvey, fan
It was just wonderful to hear you Thursday night. That’s what Real Music Making is all about!! The musical chemistry was infectious. It’s the only kind of virus to have! You all are The Best. It was certainly a memorable evening!
Dotty Mayer, fan
Petra, you and your band really do have something unique. Your musicians are so joyful. They elicit sheer joy in the audience, as well, and for a time, we all forget our problems. You and your band have the ability to create a group experience which is so rare these days. It is almost like a communion and is very special. It seems like there is an egolessness in your band, that everyone is rooting for everyone else on your team to do their best. I usually only see kind of team spirit when there is great leadership present.
Chris Abiera, fan
Congratulations on your brilliant, dreamy, haunting album! Your CD is magical!!! I wept through most of it.
Meredith D’Ambrosio, singer/pianist
Keep doing what you do, Petra…You are so good. You sang the slow ballads with so much feeling, and yet it’s never ‘overkill’ with you…some singers never realize that less is more…but you do your own understated style very tastily!!! You sing the song in your style, and it’s really a breath of spring to hear! Nothing was trite and typical. You sing with understatement and taste…and joy!! You look very much at home on stage, and relaxed, and very very happy…audiences love to see you smile…they can’t help but smile back, you know!!
Joan Reynolds, pianist/leader Red Rose Ragtime band
The highest compliment I can give you is to tell you that you have your own sound, unlike anyone else’s…it’s so darned appealing and beautiful.
Rebecca Kilgore, singer
When people hear great music they’re not sure what’s happening, but they know it’s somethin’ they can feel in their bones. This is what your band does every time. It’s the secret sauce.
Bob Ojeda, trumpeter
Petra, you are at the top of your game and what a pleasure to see a vocal artist do that in the context of actual music. You not only find the coolest material to do, you bring all of it to life. The meaning and feeling of each song is right there to enjoy and while you present that you sound like no one but yourself. Inspiring.
Don Stiernberg, mandolinist
Petra’s unique and expressive phrasing gives her an instantly identifiable sound. Within one bar you know it’s her, and you want to hear more! Petra’s delectable delivery brings us the tantalizing flavors of Astrud Gilberto and Blossom Dearie in an appealing new voice.
Judy Roberts, singer/pianist