Sue Tucker is one of the ever growing group of jazz singers who avoid vocal histrionics having adopted an unembellished straightforward approach to delivering the tunes they sing. There's no scatting, swooping or heavy breathing associated with their performances. They rely on fresh arrangements of standard material and are absolute masters of knowing how to enhance their delivery by using sideman to their best advantage. Tucker had a head start coming from a musical family. Not a family that just loved music, but who are active in jazz. Her father, Jack Oatts, was a jazz educator and her brother Jim is a trumpet/flugelhorn player and brother Dick is a saxophonist of note. She also feels that early training on the clarinet and sax left her with a greater understanding of the importance of understanding the instrumental mindset within a vocal context.
With this solid musical grounding, on her self-produced maiden album she successfully examines a variety of vocal styles and deliveries. Some cuts have a jam session feel with vocalist added like a bouncy "Too Close for Comfort" where multi-reedist Doug Haining alto trades fours with Rick Carlson's piano as Brett Forberg's drums lay down an unswerving solid beat topped off with a clever coda by Steve Pikal's bass. She becomes a torch singer, with blues undertones, on Sugar moved along by a raunchy Haining baritone sax. On an up tempo "A Foggy Day", Tucker shows her creativity as she plays around with the melody line. It works because of support from brother Jim, jazzy piano by Rick Carlson and perfectly timed drum breaks by Forberg. This is an awesome arrangement of a major entry in the Great American Popular Song Book. Complete relaxation characterizes "Easy Street" to the point of sensual lethargy. My favorite track is Bill Evans/Gee Lees' "Waltz for Debby" which Tucker really does in 3/4 time. Kent Saunders' guitar provides the bistro atmosphere for a tender "Blame It on My Youth". So it is, one track after another. Unembellished, no frills straight from the heart singing by a fine addition to the vocalist sorority. The highly recommended Meant for You is available directly from Sue at www.suetucker.com or can purchased from Amazon.
Track Listing: A Foggy Day#; You'd Be so Nice to Come to#; Sugar*; Easy Street#; I've Got the World on a String*; The Very Thought of You*; Too Close for Comfort#; Undecided*; Blame It on My Youth*; Waltz for Debbie#; Meant for You$
Personnel: Sue Tucker - Vocals; Jim Oatts - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Doug Haining - Alto & Bari Sax/Clarinet; Kent Saunders - Guitar; Rick Carlson - Piano; Gordy Johnson*, Steve Pikal# - Bass; Gordy Knudtson*, Brett Forberg# - Drums; Ricky Peterson$ - Piano
I love jazz because it's been a life's work.
I was first exposed to jazz by my father.
I met Hampton Hawes.
The best show I ever attended was Les McCann.
The first jazz record I bought was Herbie Hancock.
My advice to new listeners is to listen at a comfortable volume.