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Tierney Sutton Band

Citizen Staff Writer

“Desire” (Telarc)

In some circles the label “jazz singer” is considered kind of an oxymoron. As if singers aren’t really musicians just because they didn’t spend half a lifetime mastering an instrument, learning to play all the songs in all the keys.

Tierney Sutton is a Berklee graduate dedicated to being considered a musician first, insisting that she is just another member of the band. So for a decade now, Sutton has been releasing these albums filled with elaborate harmonic structures, rhythms hung across empty spaces like sonic suspension bridges.

Lovers of such understated miracles have been Tierney Sutton fans from the beginning.

This time out, drummer Ray Brinker is set up front with Sutton, giving equal prominence so it practically sounds like duets backed with piano and bass. He is laying down brush work that feels like impressionist paintings full of blurry-edged power while the singer’s voice hangs in the air glowing with approval.

The effect is like a warm embrace for musical sophisticates. Not that much analysis is required, just an appreciation for the ease with which this quartet can lift your imagination.

Consequently most of the songs are slow ones, some are played extremely slow for an even more dramatic effect. Titles include “Long Daddy Green” sung with full appreciation for its brilliant lyric, “Then I’ll Be Tired of You” and an exceptionally buoyant “Skylark.”


Tierney Sutton more than just a ‘jazz singer’

Tierney Sutton Band

“Desire” (Telarc)

Genre: jazz

Grade: A

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