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Kelley Suttenfield: Where Is Love

Where Is Love

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Smoky, sultry fumes emanate from Kelley Suttenfield’s vocals like liquid fire. Here’s a gal who puts her entire being into the songs cradling the lyrics in her vocals and stoking the embers in the verses with a velvety touch. Her latest CD Where Is Love, a question which many people are on the search to find the answer to, is Suttenfield’s debut record as a solo artist. Performing an array of cover tunes with a torchlight glisten including Stanley Turpentine’s “Sugar,” Betty Carter’s “Open The Door,” and Henry Mancini’s “Charade,” Suttenfield encourages the listener to delve into an imaginary sanctuary filled with tender arias and angelic hues.

Her rendition of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s timeless classic “And I Love Her” injects a tint of hope in the lamenting verses of the original as Michael Cabe’s soft, twinkling piano keys offer a stratum of support to Suttenfield’s wispy strokes. The album picks up with a jolt of slinky blues-funk in the sultry-infested grooves of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe,” then descends to a soft simmer in the Latin-tinged aria of “Coracao Vagabundo” written by Caetano Veloso. As strongly as Suttenfield’s register recalls of classic beauties like Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson, she has a style that is all her own demonstrating a flare for swing jazz with modern trimmings in “Open The Door.” Her timbres are effective without being overtly dramatic or exaggerated. She has a pitch that enables the listener to sit back and enjoy the inner calm which her singing produces. The wavy motions which she creates in her vocal melodies are soothing and complement the gentle esthetics of the music.

The middle eastern shading of Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” exudes an earthy feel in Suttenfield’s register complemented by the exotic accents of the tabla played by her drummer Brian Adler. The track steps away slightly from the overall soft bop complexion of the album but makes for a beautiful reprieve and a gorgeous duet between the tabla and piano musings. Suttenfield jumps back into the pool of cool barroom-inspired bop in Wes Montgomery’s “West Coast Blues,” and shines radiantly along the balladry buds of Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s “I Fall In Love Too Easily.”

Kelley Suttenfield’s album speaks to those whose hearts beckon for romance and minds have a tendency to be swept away by the touch of ecstasy. Her timbres have an earthy hue which keeps her feet firmly planted on the ground while her vocals call out to the pleasure that dreams induce. Her album bottles ecstasy in its most natural form and shares it openly with the listener.

Originally Published