All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

3

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

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Lucus" CD/LP/Track Review Lucus
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Pelagos" CD/LP/Track Review Pelagos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "A Big (Band) Swinging Christmas!" CD/LP/Track Review A Big (Band) Swinging Christmas!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Ellipse" CD/LP/Track Review Ellipse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Home Counties" CD/LP/Track Review Home Counties
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 10, 2017