4

Tierney Sutton: After Blue

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Tierney Sutton is the calm current flowing through the turbulent water of jazz vocals, making big changes and important recordings without stirring the water too much. Her creative presence and influence cannot be denied when listening to Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens and Renee Yoxon and Mark Ferguson among many others. Sutton's musical metaphysics is grounded in cool yet penetrating exploration using the traditional jazz instrumentation and songbook, transforming both in the bargain. On After Blue, Sutton steps away from the "standard" Great American Songbook to what can be considered a "new" Great American (Canadian) Songbook, that of vocalist composer Joni Mitchell.

The last recording Sutton devoted to a single artist was 2001's Blue In Green (Telarc), which was devoted to the compositions of pianist Bill Evans. On that recording, Sutton took what was initially composed as instrumental music, giving it a voice and in doing so, revealing Evans' melodic gift. She does the same and expands the scope of Mitchell's songs, recasting them in new and refreshing ways.

Sutton performs a beautiful vocal alchemy with Mitchell's material. She steps far enough out of her jazz box of familiarity to transform her voice into a new force of nature. With perfect comfort, Sutton renews this material with her singing. These performances exist on an equal footing with the originals, not as imitations, but as complete re-assimilations. This is what interpretive art is meant to be. This swirling evolution is what makes Sutton one of the two or three most important vocalists in the post-Fitzgerald-Vaughan-Carter period.

Another area in which Sutton excels is in the collaborative arranging of these songs. She has always experimented with format and does not alter her modus operandi here. On "Blue," "All I Want," "Little Green," and "Both Sides Now," Sutton is backed by the Turtle Island String Quartet as arranged by first violinist David Balakrishnan. Sutton's soprano is well suited for this chamber treatment making these pieces exceptional, particularly "Blue" and "Both Sides Now."

Sutton favors vocal duets with solo instruments as on "Big Yellow Taxi" where she pairs with drummer Ralph Humphrey. Frequent collaborator Larry Goldings provides a moody piano on "Court and Spark" and "Woodstock" while he rocks the B3 on "Be Cool" (on which Sutton duets with Al Jarreau). Sutton closes the disc with a mashup of "April in Paris" and "Free Man in Paris" backed only by Goldings, who provides a crepuscular mood to close this most excellent disc.

Track Listing: Blue; All I Want; Court and Spark; Don’t Go To Strangers; The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines; Big Yellow Taxi; Woodstock; Little Green; Be Cool; Answer Me, My Love; Both Sides Now; April in Paris/Free Man in Paris.

Personnel: Tierney Sutton: vocals; Hubert Laws: flute (5, 9); Peter Erskine: drums (5, 9); Ralph Humphrey: drums (6); Larry Goldings: piano, B3 organ (3, 5, 7, 9, 12); Serge Merlaud: guitar (4, 10); Kevin Axt: bass (4); Al Jarreau: vocals (9); Turtle Island String Quartet (1, 2, 8, 11).

Title: After Blue | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: BFM Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Catching Up With
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
New York Beat
Interviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Screenplay

Screenplay

BFM Jazz
2019

buy
Paris Sessions

Paris Sessions

BFM Jazz
2014

buy
After Blue

After Blue

BFM Jazz
2013

buy
American Road

American Road

BFM Jazz
2011

buy
Desire

Desire

Telarc Records
2009

buy
On the Other Side

On the Other Side

Telarc Records
2007

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Along for the Ride Album Reviews
Along for the Ride
By Jack Bowers
June 20, 2019
Read Ancestral Recall Album Reviews
Ancestral Recall
By Karl Ackermann
June 20, 2019
Read Eternal Youth Album Reviews
Eternal Youth
By Don Phipps
June 20, 2019
Read Curiouser and Curiouser Album Reviews
Curiouser and Curiouser
By Mike Jurkovic
June 20, 2019
Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019