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Tierney Sutton Band: Happiness in Melancholy

Tierney Sutton.
Tierney Sutton.

If you hear some sniffling during this interview, it's vocalist Tierney Sutton. When she and her band came to KPLU, she was battling a nasty cold. But, discounting the occasional sniffle between songs, you'd never know it. In my opinion, Tierney possesses one of the loveliest, most supple voices in jazz, and on the day of this performance, it was every bit as good as I've ever heard it — this, in spite of the fact that during her bandmates' solos, she frequently had to haul out a hankie and dab at her nose. But that's Tierney, who's nothing if not game.

As stated in the interview, what I admire most about Sutton, besides her voice, is her band. A group of first-rate musicians, it's been with her for many years: Christian Jacob on piano, Ray Brinker on drums, and Kevin Axt and/or Trey Henry on bass. This means a lot to Tierney. In fact, she bristles when the group is introduced to audiences simply as "Tierney Sutton," or "Tierney Sutton and her trio." "We're a band," she says, emphatically. "We're The Tierney Sutton Band." She loves these guys, and with good reason. Not only do they collaborate on refreshing new arrangements of songs from the jazz canon, but their years of performing together have also resulted in a nearly telepathic communication between them when they're on stage.

However, as wonderful as they are collectively, what stays with you long after you've heard them is Sutton's beautiful voice. In this performance, you'll hear it in all its glory, sniffles notwithstanding.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2008 KNKX Public Radio

Nick Morrison