It has been a pleasure to watch Tierney Sutton grow as a singer. When I first reviewed her performance for Marge Hofacre's Jazz News back in 1995 (in Three on a Swing
), I stated that "Tierney has no recordings as yet but she will." Given her talent, it was easy to make such a brash prediction - and this attractive young singer has now issued three CDs. Her confidence and skills seem to grow almost CD by CD.
Sutton's latest, titled Blue in Green, is a compilation of compositions by Bill Evans or songs associated with him. Evans's "Waltz for Debby" is included, of course, but also his equally lovely and seldom-recorded gem titled "Tiffany," which he wrote for his drummer Joe La Barbera's daughter at her birth. Interestingly, Tiffany herself wrote the lyrics when she was only sixteen. The haunting title song "Blue in Green" is a personal favorite, enhanced with a touching lyric by singer Meredith d'Ambrosio. "Very Early" is a bewitching Evans composition (with lyrics by Carolyn Hall) and Sutton's version is Circean. But there are many such high points on this superior CD. For example, it is not wall-to-wall ballads. Sutton shows her scatting chops on a quick romp through the Johnny Mercer standard "Autumn Leaves," and the calypso-tinged introduction to "Someday My Prince Will Come" is another high point.
She is the complete jazz singer: she invents like an instrumentalist, has impeccable pitch, stretches time to suit her taste - and, all the while, makes lyrics believable. Sutton has worked with the same musicians for a while now, and their familiarity is evident in tight quartet playing. Christian Jacob is one of the very best of the younger piano players. Bassist Trey Henry is also most supportive and inventive, as is drummer Ray Brinker. This group is not just a trio with singer - it's an integrated jazz quartet. Sutton once said "Beautiful melodies should not be burdened with distractions." Amen to that. Sutton creates beautiful melodies and without distractions. This is a most impressive program and Sutton performs each selection with much joy. As the saying goes, "Everybody digs Bill Evans." With this latest release, Blue in Green, everyone can and should also now dig Tierney Sutton. Highly recommended.