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Miles Davis never shouted. I’m not talking about his damaged vocal chords. He rarely raised his musical voice above a whisper. Singer Tierney Sutton, like Miles, doesn’t raise her voice to make a resounding statement. Unlike so many upper range vocal gymnasts working today, Sutton favors articulation and quiet beauty as her approach. Funny so did the greatest of all, Ella Fitzgerald. Sutton, a semi-finalist in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, has one prior release on A-Records (1997). This, her first domestic release, introduces us to a star headed for superstardom.
Sutton is a musician’s singer. She pays all due respect to famous compositions, adding appropriate lyrics to classics like Joe Henderson’s “Recordame” the opening track re-titled “Remember Me,” “All For One” recasting Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil,” and “The Peacocks” played as “A Timeless Place.” It is often said that a singer’s voice acts as a musical instrument. For Sutton, this concept is her cornerstone. The ease and comfort she displays is a rare commodity for singers, and tells us that she is not the showpiece, the music is. Take “Joy Spring” the Clifford Brown classic. She coaxes the memory of Brownie in an Annie Ross-like scat and vocalization of words. Guitarist Jamie Findlay accompanies as well as Buddy Childer’s on Flugelhorn. The ease in which these musicians relate and interpret is a sprung joy. Sutton’s almost casual vocals are of course the product of practice and training. Like a Michael Jordan drive or a Miles Davis phrase, seemingly effortless performances reveal pure talent and a confident beauty.
Track List:Remember Me; Early Autumn; A Timeless Place; Bernie’s Tune; Spring Is Here Joy Spring; All For One; Indiana/Donna Lee; When Lights Are Low; Can Alma.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...