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Tierney Sutton Band: Live at Iridium

Ernest Barteldes By
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Tierney Sutton Band
Iridium Jazz Club
New York City
August 21, 2009

Backed by her longtime band formed by Chris Jacob (piano), Kevin Axt (bass) and Ray Brinker (drums), vocalist Tierney Sutton took the stage at the famed New York City jazz club with a set mostly based on her album Desire (Telarc, 2009), a collection of standards that focus on songs about love—won, unrequited and lost.

The concert opened with "Heart's Desire," which immediately demonstrated that the band is becoming tighter and tighter as the years go by. Sutton's voice seemed to have deepened since her "On The Other Side" tour two years ago, but it has not reduced the quality of her performance one bit. Sutton has developed a more nuanced delivery that suits each number like a glove.

She followed that with Cole Porter's "Love or Leave Me," a song that she described as, "it's 11 o'clock and my values have changed." The song mostly showcased Jacob's dexterity on the keys, while Axt and Brinker provided a solid backing. Axt showcased his chops with Rodgers & Hart's "Glad to Be Unhappy," a tune about platonic love gone wrong. Sutton improvised at length on "Devil May Care," interacting with the musicians and surprising the audience with a sudden, unexpected stop.

Other highlights from the concert included a downtempo version of "Cry Me A River" and a spare version of "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" with only vocals and drums. Sutton and Brinker did not miss the opportunity for free exchange during the tune. The set ended with "It's Only a Paper Moon," a song made popular by Nat 'King' Cole. Sutton's version bore no resemblance to Cole's, focusing instead on her scatting and Jacob's extended solos.

The Tierney Sutton Band gave the fans present at the show precisely what her fans expect—a cohesive collection of standards arranged in a highly personal manner with some light banter in between. It was a highly enjoyable experience, which was made even better with the impeccable quality of the room's sound equipment.


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