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Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton

Those that can do. Those that can’t teach. Then there’s Tierney Sutton. For nearly a decade, the gifted vocalist with the Michelle Pfeiffer allure has been a jazz soul divided, splitting her time between the controlled academic sanctity of University of Southern California (where she heads up the jazz vocal department) and the unpredictable rigors of recording and the road.

As both educator and performer, Sutton numbers among the nation’s most dynamic and innovative. Not bad for a Wisconsin lass whose pre-jazz résumé includes a stint as a singing cocktail waitress. She wasn’t just any old pop princess, however, serving up disco hits and Streisand covers alongside each tray of Singapore slings. “I was,” she intones with mock hauteur, “a Heidel Honey, and if you don’t understand the difference, then you’ve never lived in Wisconsin! It made me want to never sing another pop tune. It might, in fact, be the single reason why Patsy Cline is about as close as I get to including contemporary material on my albums.”

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