All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

158

The Tierney Sutton Band: American Road

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Tierney Sutton inhabits songs as few vocalists can or do: with a certain vulnerability and powerful drama that imbues each song with an electricity that sends tingles up and down the spine. These singular characteristics melt into her sense of how to vary her phrasing with such subtlety that, if the inner ear is not tuned in to her voice, the magic vanishes in the flashes of lightning that appear every now and then as she sings. And so to pick a program, as she has done on American Road, means that it is almost certain that she will deliver something truly memorable. Of course she does not ever disappoint. Each song is almost completely re-imagined—not only conceptually, but also in minute detail. Sutton enunciates with precision, even when she sings wordlessly, bringing a certain mathematical approach to the song. And then, just when it seems rigidity might descend upon the proceedings, in one quivering moment, she employs a quiet elasticity to a syllable or a sound and a new lyricism is born.

These remarkable moments appear in as "Oh Shenandoah" melts into an achingly beautiful version of "The Water is Wide." The manner in which Sutton dallies over, bends and lets a sweet tremulous vibrato tug at words like "hear" and "sound" in "Amazing Grace" is another example of how exquisite and deeply touching a song becomes at her command. There is a measured grace in her rendition of "Tenderly." The superbly nuanced twists and turns of "Yip" Harburg's "The Eagle and Me" are maddeningly playful. This is contrasted by the deadly seriousness of her interpretations of Gershwin. The three song sketches from Porgy and Bess are exquisite: from the prophetic preaching of "It Ain't Necessarily So" through the bluesy liberation of "Summertime" and the finale—a desperate realization and return to hard times in the magnificent catharsis of "My Man's Gone Now." Sutton also does a marvelous job of rendering Stephen Sondheim as she brings to life the grandeur of sweeping vistas of pastoral America.

Much of the success of this album has to do not only with the superbly crafted arrangements of the songs as they leap and swing from major to minor transpositions, but also to the intuitive playing of the band. Each of these gentlemen is an astute listener. The use of two bassists adds a certain robustness to the rhythm and, at times, to the melodic and harmonic perspectives of the songs as well. There are several magical moments with the bassists especially in "Summertime" as the pizzicato and con arco from one to the other intertwine to accentuate the drama of the interpretation. Finally there is the recording itself. The crispness of sound is a wonderful feature here especially in the woody sound of the basses, the sizzle of the cymbals and the nervy vibrations of the skins of the drums. The crowning glory, of course, is in the occasional husky sweetness of Sutton's voice.

Track Listing: Wayfaring Stranger; Oh Shenandoah/The Water Is Wide; On Broadway; Amazing Grace; It Ain't Necessarily So; Summertime; My Man's Gone Now; Tenderly; The Eagle And Me; Somewhere; Something's Coming/Cool; America The Beautiful.

Personnel: Tierney Sutton: vocals; Christian Jacob: piano; Kevin Axt: electric bass, acoustic bass; Trey Henry: electric bass, acoustic bass; Ray Brinker: drums, percussion.

Title: American Road | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: BFM

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Brother Raymond CD/LP/Track Review
Brother Raymond
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Frescalalto CD/LP/Track Review
Frescalalto
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Motion
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 22, 2018
Read El Duende CD/LP/Track Review
El Duende
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Butterfly" CD/LP/Track Review Butterfly
by Chris May
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Inspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Inspiration
by Chris May
Published: May 6, 2018
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "Oostum" CD/LP/Track Review Oostum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 11, 2018
Read "Lala Belu" CD/LP/Track Review Lala Belu
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 27, 2018