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Tierney Sutton: Paris Sessions

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From the beginning of her recording career in 1998 through 2011, every studio session led by Tierney Sutton featured the same bandmates: pianist Christian Jacobs, drummer-percussionist Ray Brinker and dual bassists Kevin Axt and Trey Henry. They were, and remain, among the tightest, most interdependent units in jazz.

Then, last year, Sutton made a surprising detour, separating from all but Axt to create the Joni Mitchell tribute After Blue. Paris Sessions is linked to the Mitchell project. Two of After Blue‘s tracks were recorded in Paris with Axt and French guitarist Serge Merlaud, an artist Sutton has come to deeply admire over the course of a 20-year friendship. These dozen tracks are from that same 2012 Paris session, with Axt on bass guitar and Merlaud alternating between electric and acoustic guitars.

Though Sutton has never been one for vocal acrobatics or razzmatazz, even by her subtle standards Paris Sessions is a subdued affair. Dusky standards dominate the playlist, ranging from the hushed promise of “You Must Believe in Spring” and intense devotion of “Body and Soul” and “You’re Nearer” to the heartache of “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” and “Answer Me, My Love.” Woven among them are four delicate compositions (three by Merlaud and one by Nelson Cavaquinho and Noel Silva) that, performed wordlessly by Sutton, further enrich the disc’s amber hue.

Originally Published