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Laura Nyro: Season of Lights...Laura Nyro in Concert

Album Notes

From the opening moments of Season of Lights, as the band slides smoothly into "Money" from Laura Nyro's then-current album, Smile, you know that this record was cut at the perfect moment in Nyro's career -- her performance combines the understated sense of release of someone who is back from a long sabbatical (in this case, five years away from recording or performing), and the cool, smooth professionalism of a natural performer who has found a perfect accompaniment, in this case mixing elements of pop and light jazz. She gave listeners fresh reconsiderations of ten-year-old works like "And When I Die," which she does in a slow, lyrical, yet slightly funky manner, as though neither she nor any of her audience had ever heard of Blood, Sweat & Tears -- talk about reclaiming a song for herself, once one hears this rendition it's difficult to take David Clayton-Thomas' performance of it seriously ever again -- and "The Confession." "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp" becomes the vehicle for Nyro's introduction of the band, before she begins stretching her upper range, accompanied by Jeanie Fineberg's flute, John Tropea's guitar, and Michael Mainieri's vibraphone. "When I Was a Freeport (And You Were the Main Drag)" is the kind of song that, ideally, should only ever have been presented live, showing off Nyro at her most gently beguiling and accessible, teasing the audience with the play of her words and her voice, an approach that she emulates on "Captain St. Lucifer." The original ten songs from the original LP were a decent representation of where Nyro was at the time, though one can bet that if Clive Davis had still been president of Columbia Records, Season of Lights would have been the double LP that was intended. [In 1995, Sony Music of Japan issued an expanded edition, and complete versions of the concert appeared in the 2000s.] ~ Bruce Eder


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