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Tierney Sutton: I’m With the Band

With certain singers, it’s possible to pinpoint the specific recordings that marked the transition from great to iconic. As with Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbooks for Norman Granz or Frank Sinatra’s initial teaming with Nelson Riddle at Capitol, Tierney Sutton’s sixth disc is her passport into the classic. Recorded over two days at Birdland in front of a small, invited audience, I’m With the Band is a textbook case in how to create a near-flawless album. Ah, but textbooks tend to be dull, dry affairs-two adjectives impossible to apply to the coyly intelligent workout she gives these 16 standards, approaching them like a series of enticing new lovers who need, variously, to be cajoled, caressed, tickled, hugged, gently scolded or aggressively wrestled to the floor.

Sutton’s brilliance is her ability to blend seamlessly with the three superlative bandmates-pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry (here alternating with Kevin Axt) and drummer Ray Brinker-who have been integral to her escalating success for more than a decade. Providing a continuous flow of support, strength and inspiration, they are her Granz, her Riddle.

Originally Published