ANGEL IN THE DARK features Laura Nyro's previously unreleased final recordings.
Personnel includes: Laura Nyro (vocals, piano, electric piano); John Tropea, Jeff Pevar (guitar); Michael Brecker (saxophone); Randy Brecker (trumpet); Will Lee, Freddie Washington (bass); Chris Parker, Bernard Purdie (drums); Carole Steele, Bashiri Johnson (percussion).
Producer: Laura Nyro.
Reissue producer: Scott Billington, Eileen Silver-Lilywhite.
Includes liner notes by Eileen Silver-Lillywhite.
With Laura Nyro's untimely death the world lost one of its most original singer-songwriters, a woman capable of synthesizing jazz, R&B, gospel, and girl-group pop from an artful song poet's perspective. ANGEL IN THE DARK, a posthumous collection of Nyro's final recordings, is a godsend to Nyro fans.
The album is divided between original compositions and Nyro's take on the mid-'60s pop that was one of her primary influences. Appropriately, the arrangements are based around her gospelly piano and supple voice. Guitars, horns, and backing vocals provide coloration, but for the most part the production is satisfyingly spare. Nyro's own songs here hark back to the classic approach of such albums as NEW YORK TENDABERRY, simultaneously bluesy and elegant. The cover tunes, which include R&B classics "La La Means I Love You," "Ooh Baby Baby," and the Spector-era pop gem "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," are given such a winningly idiosyncratic treatment that it's easy to confuse them with Nyro's tunes.
Entertainment Weekly (4/20/01, p.73) - "...Intoxicating...demonstrating the resonance of the late artist's deeply personal vision..." - Rating: B+
Q (7/01, pp.136-7) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...These unvarnished tracks offer a hugely affecting final portrait....she has rarely been more compelling....A simple, elegiac and quietly stunning farewell..."
CMJ (4/30/01, p.28) - "...Her final sessions captured new, unreleased songs plus a few tenderly, rendered covers...that shed light on her inspirations and motivations..."
No Depression (5-6/01, pp.129-30) - "...An enjoyable listen...She sounds inspired and in fine form despite her failing health..."