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.
Through the years, Austin has inspired songwriters with her talent and classy vocal delivery. Her latest disc, Sound Advice, affords the vocalist an opportunity to choose songs from various composers that deeply touch her in different ways. Austin’s eclectic musical taste on Sound Advice is also a special treat considering the depth of material she has covered through the years. It is only fitting that the veteran vocalist recruited some of her closest musical friends to make this mix of pop standards, classic and modern rock, adult contemporary R&B and folk ballads come alive. This stellar lineup includes Greg Phillinganes, Paul Jackson, Jr., Freddie Washington, John Robinson and Neil Stubenhaus.
The fourth album cut for the label wasn't much different from the previous three. It was a patchwork quilt: a little fusion, a little quasi-jazz, some urban contemporary material, and even a standard or two. She sang them all with ease and grace, although things were so smooth that they were almost comatose at times. would later go on to score much bigger hits working with , who at least injected enough hooks and tricks into his urban contemporary stuff to grab someone's attention.
Patti’s debut for CTI, END OF A RAINBOW was conceived after she played demos of songs she’d written (but originally never planned to record) for arranger Bill Eaton who in turn played them for his production partner percussionist Ralph MacDonald. After MacDonald let Creed Taylor hear some of the songs, Patti began recording what would become her much-acclaimed debut set for the label which featured eight original Austin compositions including the U.S. R&B charted single, “Say You Love Me” and “Sweet Sadie The Savior” (also recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears). The 1976 LP (with some of New York’s top session players) became a U.S. Top 40 jazz charted album and is included in its entirety on this SoulMusic Records’ compilation drawn from Patti’s four years with CTI.