The veteran sweet-voiced singer's fourth GRP album is perhaps her most musically diverse, covering an ambitious range of material. While each successive album she's recorded over that period has given the versatile entertainer an opportunity to showcase different elements of her artistry, this album gives her the chance to highlight her skills as a vocal stylist and interpreter with few peers.
With apologies to Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin has always quite simply been the best jack-of-all-genre singers on the planet, crossing effortlessly from jazz to pop and R&B with a voice that's so sweet, rich, and lovely, it can't help but warm the heart. On the heels of her 1988 masterpiece The Real Me, her GRP debut packs a wallop of festive up tempo tunes, lite funk pop, torchy message songs, passionate ballads, and breezy tenderness – all delivered with a truly Austin-tatious flair. Austin surrounds herself with some of pop jazz's best here, with GRP's 1990 roster well represented: Dave Grusin (whose production is flawless), Don Grusin (with whom she co-wrote the happy "Ooh Wee (The Carnival)")…
With a voice that is capable of convincingly interpreting virtually any style of material, Patti Austin is one of the most astoundingly gifted singers of her generation. Here Patti caresses twelve timeless melodies with great sensitivity and emotional depth, taking the listener on a warmly romantic journey. Intimate Patti Austin is the first in Mosaic Contemporary’s Intimate Series, presenting the "best of the best" ballad interpretations from an artist's entire recorded output for several labels. From her wonderful version of the classic Stylistics hit “Stop, Look, Listen” to the first recording of the now standard Ivan Lins/Alan & Marilyn Bergman gem “The Island”, this collection takes the listener through the many passionate feelings of love found, lost, and renewed…
Patti LaBelle's entry in the Universal Masters Collection is a decent compilation that covers most of her hits from the latter half of the '80s and the whole of the '90s, containing singles like "New Attitude," "Kiss Away the Pain," "Oh, People," "Feels Like Another One," "Stir It Up," "Yo Mister," "Beat My Heart Like a Drum," and "When You Talk About Love." Though it's not comprehensive with this phase of LaBelle's career, it's one of the better sets available with this kind of scope. This is a European release, so it is slanted toward the singles that made a big impact outside of the U.S., but there isn't a great deal of variance between what was most popular in the two territories.
Street of Dreams was designed as a project for Patti Austin to sing her favorite songs, regardless of genre. True, there are a couple of later songs here, usually including two co-written by Vaneese Thomas, but the heart of the album is in interpretations of "The Look of Love," "Street of Dreams," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "'Till There Was You," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "For Once in My Life," and "IGY (What a Beautiful World)." Although the arrangements can get a little too clean and synthesized (much of the album sounds as if it was recorded with DX-7s), Austin is in terrific form throughout, breathing life into songs that have been recorded numerous times. It's a fine latter-day effort from a fine singer.
Patti Austin, though best-known for the quiet-storm duet "Baby Come to Me" with James Ingram, is one of those rare artists capable of working in a multitude of different genres. While this is a testament to her ability as a lyrical interpreter, it sometimes results in uneven albums. In and Out of Love just about avoids that trap, although there are a couple of moments when she seems to be trying too hard to show all that she can do in the course of one record.
Patti Smith completed her contract with Arista Records after 27 years by assembling this compilation, which serves as both a best-of and rarities collection, one disc devoted to each. Disc one is drawn from Smith's eight studio albums (with the exception of a newly recorded cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry"). Having scored only one hit single, "Because the Night," Smith was not constrained by chart performance, and she seems to have chosen the songs that still mean something to her (though in an interview she claimed to have taken fan preferences into consideration). Curiously, given the album title, the epic "Land" is missing, as are such straight-ahead rockers as "Ask the Angels" and "Till Victory."