246

Sounding Sinatra: Tierney Sutton Performs at the Kennedy Center

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Sharp, subtle, and carefully balanced, Sutton's jazz is jazz like a dirty martini.
As good as a recording may be, there is just no substitute for a live performance. More often than not, an album can obscure hidden talents, and even the best releases, no matter how powerful, lack the vitality and immediacy of music in the flesh. Tierney Sutton's recent performance at the Kennedy Center's Jazz Club proved no exception to this axiom, revealing facets of Sutton's artistry concealed by the smooth production of her latest (critically-acclaimed) recording.

Performing in the elegantly simple space of the KC Jazz Club, Sutton managed to capture her audience before she even began singing, as she loosened up the room with her sharp wit and opened the door for an evening of intimate music with a series of pleasantly self-effacing and personally revealing anecdotes. Sutton then began the set, and within moments of her voice filling the coolly lit space, she held the audience in the palm of her hand.

Working off of her latest release, the Frank Sinatra tribute Dancing in the Dark , Sutton and her long time band mates, Christian Jacob (piano), Trey Henry (bass), and Ray Brinker (drums), proceeded to treat the audience to a rapid fire series of alternately up-tempo, almost glibly entertaining tunes, together with dramatically melancholic ballads.

Opening with a heavily swung "Devil May Care", Sutton next transitioned into a movingly rendered version of Sinatra's "Without A Song". Listening to the almost schizophrenic manner in which Sutton first bent her voice into a mildly parodic caricature of '40s vocal styling, and then into an operatically expressive conduit became not only stunning, but also quite gratifying.

With these two pieces, Sutton quickly established the mood of the evening, letting her voice and poise mesh with the paired down sophistication of the room to guide the audience into a state of nostalgia for the days of jazz clubs past. Though cleverly retro in her overall delivery, Sutton managed to accomplish something much more than simple reminiscence. By performing up-tempo pieces like "Tease Me" and "I Get a Kick Out of You" with an appropriate wink and a smile, Sutton slips the deeper sentiments of ballads like "I Could Have Told You" and "All The Way" past the gaps in our collective cynicism. Other highlights of the evening included a daunting drum-vocal duet rendition of "The Surrey with the Fringe On Top", on which both Sutton and Brinker not only kept up a furious tempo, but also traded impressive improvised solos; an achingly somber take of "All the Way"; and a gorgeously arranged version of "What'll I do", on which bassist Henry blended hauntingly expressionistic accompaniments with Sutton's own gossamer reading.

Reforming Sinatra in this way underscores the potency of the original compositions and accents Sinatra's remarkable talents, while most importantly showcasing Sutton's own unique capacity to use jazz antiques as a platform for her highly personal exploration.

Sharp, subtle, and carefully balanced, Sutton's jazz is jazz like a dirty martini.

Visit on the web at www.tierneysutton.com .


Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Trevor Anderies Quintet at Fresh Santa Fe" Live Reviews Trevor Anderies Quintet at Fresh Santa Fe
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "String Theory 2016" Live Reviews String Theory 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Dave Liebman Expansions at Chris’ Jazz Café" Live Reviews Dave Liebman Expansions at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "Chris Potter Quartet at Village Vanguard" Live Reviews Chris Potter Quartet at Village Vanguard
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "2016 Lakeland Jazz Festival" Live Reviews 2016 Lakeland Jazz Festival
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!