At the start of the Great Recession in September 2008, Petra’s Recession Seven, an authentic Chicago-style jazz band was born at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill. The seven-piece ensemble is led by Petra van Nuis, a vocalist praised by the Chicago Tribune for her “interpretive savvy…light-and-silvery vocals and, better still, saucy manner of delivery that emphasizes the art of the double entendre.”
Petra’s Recession Seven features a front line of all-star internationally known Chicago veteran horn players. Trombonist Russ Phillips grew up “in the wings” listening to his dad, Russ Phillips Sr. play trombone in Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars. Russ Jr. decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and in addition to Chicago performances is a popular fixture on mainstream jazz festivals and cruises. Reedist Eric Schneider began his early career as a member of the bands of Count Basie and Earl Fatha Hines. Since then, Eric has played with many legends including Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald and continues to be one of the busiest working musicians in Chicago. Trumpeter Bob Ojeda, a veteran of big bands since the tender age of 17 (Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Buddy Rich), has backed stars Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Julie London, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee. A Grammy-award winning arranger, Bob’s arrangements have been heard on the Tonight Show. The swinging rhythm section of bassist Dan Delorenzo and drummer Bob Rummage is led by guitarist Andy Brown, recognized by Downbeat Magazine as a “rising star.”
In their hometown of Chicago, Petra’s Recession Seven is a big hit at the Jazz Showcase, the Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club and Fitzgerald’s. Festival performances include the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Cedar Basin Jazz Festival, the Juvae Jazz Festival, and the American Music Festival. Regionally, the Recession Seven has played jazz societies including the Madison Jazz Society, the Starr-Gennett Foundation, the Illiana Jazz Club, the “Masters of Swing” series at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, the Lafayette Jazz Club and the Indianapolis Jazz Club.
The American Rag, in a review of the band’s 2011 on location recording “Live In Chicago” praises “a killer of a band that grabs your attention and doesn’t give it back until they are finished playing.”