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Tierney Sutton: After Blue

Timed to coincide with Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday, Tierney Sutton’s career-spanning homage has actually been marinating for more than a dozen years, ever since she heard Mitchell’s standards-focused Both Sides Now from 2000. It was, writes Sutton in her liner notes, “my doorway into Joni-land,” prompting a deep dive into the Mitchell oeuvre. But Sutton was adamant that she wouldn’t record any Mitchell tunes until she felt fully ready and able. Fortuitously, members of the Turtle Island Quartet approached her in 2011 to suggest a collaboration that, they hoped, might include some Joni material.

It is her first-ever album without bandmates Christian Jacob, Ray Brinker and Trey Henry (though bassist Kevin Axt does make a guest appearance), Sutton instead working alongside Turtle Island and in various combinations with flutist Hubert Laws, guitarist Serge Merlaud, keyboardist Larry Goldings and drummers Peter Erskine and Ralph Humphrey.

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