by | Dec 19, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews

THE TIERNEY SUTTON BAND – American Road – BFM Jazz 61:16 ****:
(Tierney Sutton – vocals; Christian Jacob – piano; Kevin Axt – acoustic and electric bass; Trey Henry – acoustic and electric bass; Ray Brinker – drums & percussion)
Tierney Sutton is a singer with a wonderful vocal range in both style and material which she demonstrates to perfection in her latest offering American Road. Accompanied by her usual cohorts, she lays into a combination of standards, Broadway melodies, and traditional folk songs to deliver a conceptually interesting program.
Tierney Sutton is an artist who is unafraid to take chances. And so, leading off with several traditional folk songs such as “Wayfaring Stranger”, “Oh Shenandoah” and “The Water is Wide” is unconventional, yet these choices yield some noteworthy musical intervals. Given her command of the material and the stimulating arrangements that were contributed by the various band members, Sutton takes on the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller tune “On Broadway” which won a Grammy for George Benson in 1979.  Continuing to reveal herself, Tierney demonstrates that Broadway melodies hold no mystery, as she delves into George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim hit West Side Story.
The Gershwin themes offer dramatic opportunities for a serious reading of “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, “Summertime”, and “My Man’s Gone Now” each of which has an underlying current of sadness. Sutton’s renditions give her a focus to bring new vitality to the compositions that reflect her vocal sensibilities. The Bernstein/Sondheim trio of songs “Somewhere”, “Something’s Coming”, and “Cool” again confirms that Sutton is determined to offer innovative performances of well know material. Sprinkled among these melodies is an achingly deliberate version of the impressionistic “Tenderly” which was first recorded by Sarah Vaughan in 1947. Fortunately Sutton avoids the clichéd arrangement that was part of the Vaughan recording.
Tierney Sutton has delivered a notable disc that confirms her position as a vocalist with particular qualities that defy classification or categorization.
TrackList: Wayfaring Stranger; Oh Shenandoah/The Water is Wide; On Broadway; Amazing Grace; It Ain’t Necessarily So; Summertime; My Man’s Gone Now; Tenderly; The Eagle and Me; Somewhere; Something’s Coming/Cool; America the Beautiful
—Pierre Giroux

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