23

Tierney Sutton Band at Dazzle

Geoff Anderson By

Sign in to view read count
Tierney Sutton Band
Dazzle
Denver
May 6, 2012

Most attractive female singers with long blonde hair simply market themselves under their own name. Not so Tierney Sutton. She's not a solo act. She's part of the Tierney Sutton Band. Sure, she's the focal point onstage (a long blonde mane will do that), but the band is a true collaboration, having been together for about 20 years. Besides performing together, the band collectively creates its own arrangements of jazz standards. Sunday night at Dazzle, Sutton estimated that the group has about 150 to 170 songs in its book that have been arranged together. As a result, no two shows by the Tierney Sutton Band are the same.

Sutton, herself, is in the upper tier of female jazz vocalists; but it's her band and her approach to the songs she sings that set her apart from the pack. Certainly each band member is a virtuoso. Pianist Christian Jacob switched from tasteful accompaniment to fiery solo in an instant. The rhythm section of bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker solidly swung in the background, but each player also stepped up for dynamic solos. However, no matter how technically accomplished the players might be, there is simply no substitute for playing together for decades, an experience evident throughout the set. The drum fills, the bass filigrees and the piano flourishes were musical accoutrements simply not heard with a pickup band.

Sutton explained that the highly creative arrangements are all group efforts, the extensive remodeling of jazz standards a hallmark of the band. Familiar songs turn into new adventures and experiences; "Wayfaring Stranger," from the band's latest album, American Road (BFM, 2011), began life as a 19th Century folk song and was later used as a theme song by Burl Ives in the 1940s. Not exactly your typical raw material for a jazz tune; in the hands of this band, however, the old folk song found new life as a haunting, trance-inducing ballad. Burl Ives never sounded like this.

Obviously interested in contrast and irony, the band played "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "Amazing Grace" back-to-back. Sutton introduced this pair of tunes as two different views of spirituality: one, cynical; the other, reverent. Upon finishing "Amaziong Grace," Sutton explained that the whole band has been struggling to decide which view makes the most sense. She didn't have an answer.

Later in the set, the band played its percussive arrangement of "On Broadway," a tune for which the band received a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal. American Road also picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland Live Reviews Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Jazz em Agosto 2017 Live Reviews Jazz em Agosto 2017
by Mike Chamberlain
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano Live Reviews Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 14, 2017
Read Gilad Hekselman at the Cornelia Street Café Live Reviews Gilad Hekselman at the Cornelia Street Café
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne" Live Reviews Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens" Live Reviews George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "The Stanley Clarke Band At Kuumbwa Jazz Center" Live Reviews The Stanley Clarke Band At Kuumbwa Jazz Center
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Soule Indomitable at Nectar's" Live Reviews Soule Indomitable at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen at Davidson College" Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy Concert 2016" Live Reviews Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy Concert 2016
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 17, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.