JazzWeek Vocalist of the Year 2005
"The thing that Bill gave me was the idea that jazz could be delicate. He let me know that there was a place for me in jazz, that I could use my voice in this music. He had introduced something new and fresh—that bittersweet harmonic sense of his, never too sweet, with that undercurrent of tragedy. If people would listen to Bill Evans, there would be no need for smooth jazz." —Tierney Sutton
Tierney Sutton is one great jazz singer, or more accurately, one great jazz musician. Her intonation and rhythmic skills are superb; she can improvise, with and without lyrics; she selects great material and immerses herself in both its verbal and musical meanings; and she is not afraid to take risks. All bases are covered when Sutton sings, from technical dazzle to unadorned emotion.
Sutton's Blue in Green, is a new album of music written by or associated with the late pianist and composer Bill Evans (1929-1980), one of the most influential figures in all of jazz history. Featuring fourteen incredible performances, Sutton's second Telarc release swings with straight-ahead abandon on "Autumn Leaves" and in contrasting time signatures on "Someday My Prince Will Come," captures grief with "Turn Out the Stars" and bittersweet hope on "We Will Meet Again," displays rhythmic poise at tricky, complex tempos on "Just Squeeze Me" and "Never Let Me Go," and closes with the lone selection Evans never recorded "Old Devil Moon." Evans' former drummer Joe La Barbera appears as a guest on the medley "Waltz for Debby/Tiffany."
Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tierney Sutton is currently head of the jazz vocal department at the University of Southern California. She moved to California after more than a decade during which she launched her career in the Boston area. After settling in Los Angeles, she had a chance to hear Jack Sheldon's Big Band—and pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker were the rhythm section. Sheldon asked Sutton to sit in, people heard what she could do, and soon work started coming her way. Jacob, Henry and Brinker also landed themselves a new gig—as part of the Tierney Sutton Quartet that now tours the United States.
On her Telarc debut, Unsung Heroes (CD-83477), Sutton took popular jazz standards that are commonly known as instrumentals such as Joe Henderson's "Recordame," Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil," Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" and others and recorded them with vocals.