215

Leigh Sutherlin: Sandbar

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Leigh Sutherlin: Sandbar You meet a father and son at a garage sale, checking out some CDs. You get to talking music. The man says his wife is a jazz artist with a debut recording on the way. A CD release show is in the works. You accept an invite, hoping to hear some passable sounds. You show up and grab a chair, and the band—Leigh Sutherlin settling into the piano seat—hits the stage and cranks into "Whitecaps," a crisp up-tempo romp with a tight rhythm and a Monkish feel. You know, five seconds in, that this is going to be a mighty fine listening experience. Then saxophonist Jen Conder steps back and Sutherlin bursts into her solo with elegant and ebullient abandon, and all you can say is: "Whoa!"

Sutherlin received her classical piano training at Indiana University, has spent time as musical director for various stage shows and done stints in top forty bands, but jazz is her first musical love. With Sandbar, an all original set, the pianist/vocalist splashes brightly onto the scene.

The set is a showcase for Sutherlin's versatility, opening with "Give My Heart Away," a foot tapping, pop-ish tune featuring Sutherlin's engaging vocal. Up next is "Plumeria," a jazz workout with a bright, bouncy rhythm—thanks to bassist Jeff "Sly" Simon and drummer Brad Rehn—behind Conder's saxophone, leading into the beautifully uplifting piano trio tune, "Surrender."

The title track, flows with a smooth bossa nova groove, as guitarist Donn Boyd joins the core trio to inject a Brazilian flavor into the set. "Moonlight on the Sea" captures Sutherlin playing solo in a pensive, Bill Evans mode.

On "Tell Me," another vocal track, Sutherlin lays her vulnerability out on her sleeve (alongside her underlying strength) inside a catchy, can't-get-it-out-of-your-head melody that, in a different day, might have found a spot on the radio.

Sandbar closes with the same tune that wrapped up the live set: a rousing "Jubilation," featuring a sextet of gorgeous gospel singers that gets the crowd on its feet and shakes the place, measurable on the Richter scale, earthly and celestial—a fine ending to an inspired debut.


Track Listing: Give My Heart Away; Plumeria; Surrender; Sandbar; Moonlight on the Sea; Tell Me; Better Than Ever; White Caps; Jubilation.

Personnel: Leigh Sutherlin: piano, keyboards, vocals; Jen Conder: alto and tenor saxophone; Donn Boyd: guitar; Jeff "Sly" Simon: bass; Brad Rehn: drums, percussion; Debbie Donnell, Jessica Donnell; Kailin Cianne Griffith, Gloria Simon, Amber Singh, Amy Singh: background vocals (9)

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Message In Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Message In Motion
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Plays New Zealand" CD/LP/Track Review Plays New Zealand
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!