Tierney Sutton: I’m With The Band – Tierney Sutton, vocals with Christian Jacob, piano; Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, bass; Ray Brinker, drums – Telarc

by | Sep 1, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Tierney Sutton: I’m With The Band – Tierney Sutton, vocals with
Christian Jacob, piano; Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, bass; Ray Brinker,
drums – Telarc CD-83616, 61 min. ***1/2:

Tierney Sutton’s new disc follows a more-or-less established pattern
for most top-tier jazz singers – it’s that point in her career to
release a live album – one that showcases the talents of her band and
gives a really good idea of what her live experience is all about. A
few caveats aside, this disc pretty much reveals that as a working band
that’s been together essentially throughout her recorded career – this
group can really swing. Ms. Sutton is in excellent voice here, and has
surrounded herself with polished musicians of the highest order; the
resulting music making is frequently superb. However…

Unfortunately, all is not Shangri-La here. Disappointment number one:
the disc is just a Red Book CD, and not one of Telarc’s frequently
excellent Super Audio CD’s. The recorded sound has a very diffuse
quality – Tierney’s voice isn’t very focused, and lacks the emphasis
and presence that an SACD center channel (or more focused recording)
would have given it. Secondly, the album lacks truly deep bass – I kept
checking my subwoofer to make sure it was working – which is odd,
because they employ two bassists here! You’d never know it based on the
recording – a quick check of her previous two albums showed
subterranean bass in excess. The disc was recorded in DSD – we can only
hope that Telarc has an SACD brewing – one that will cure this disc’s
sonic anomalies.

My final complaint (a personal one) stems from the sometimes excessive
scatting – which is, in my humble opinion, often egregious. Scatting so
rapid-fire that it serves no purpose other than a show of how quickly
Ms. Sutton can spew syllables, and how quickly songs like ‘S Wonderful
and East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) can be reduced to rubble. I
enjoy a good scat along with everyone else, but please – there are
limits of endurance. Tierney Sutton’s voice is an incredible instrument
– in a world where everyone is striving to make a unique statement, I
can’t help but wonder if she’s feeling pressure from the drink-clinkers
in the audience who need to be entertained. The purity of her voice
should be entertainment enough for them.

This disc has a lot of potential – and Telarc has released some very
good live jazz albums in the recent past. Maybe if Telarc releases a
multichannel SACD version, I’ll revisit it with hopefully more
sympathetic findings. Until then, you’ll have to be the judge.

Tracks: Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Let’s Face The Music And
Dance; ‘S Wonderful; Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Two For
The Road; East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon); People Will Say We’re
In Love; If I Loved You; Surrey With The Fringe On Top; Cheek To Cheek;
Blue Skies; I Get A Kick Out Of You; The Lady Is A Tramp; What A Little
Moonlight Will Do; On My Way To You; Devil May Care.

— Tom Gibbs  

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