Tierney Sutton’s reputation as a singular vocal talent with a flair for inventive arrangements is in full force on After Blue, her latest album. Referred to as her “Joni Mitchell Project,” After Blue re-ignited the legendary singer/songwriter’s most vibrant material, and Sutton’s subtle, ethereal sound is a natural match for Mitchell’s compositions. From Little Green to Big Yellow Taxi, and The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines to A Free Man In Paris, Sutton’s vocal artistry is supported by her remarkable accompanists: cellist Mark Summer (Turtle Island String Quartet) and French guitarist Serge Merlaud.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Tierney Sutton grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She attended college at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University, and went on to study music at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. For the past two decades she has fronted her own band.
While her group is currently on hiatus, Sutton has forged ahead on her long delayed Joni Mitchell Project. For years, friends had urged her to record Joni Mitchell’s music, often commenting that Sutton’s voice would be a perfect complement to the famed songwriter’s compositions. It took ten years for things to fall into place, but she finally felt comfortable enough to move ahead and start recording with a special line-up of musicians. Just as important were the arrangements of Joni’s material. To avoid rote recitations, she re-configured the songs in a variety of formats, and instrumentation, that encompassed duos, trios, and small ensembles. Her duets include a vocal/drum matchup on Big Yellow Taxi with former Zappa drummer Ralph Humphrey, and a piano/voice duo on Court and Spark with Larry Goldings. Other arrangements feature vocal legend Al Jarreau; flutist Hubert Laws; former Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine; and the Turtle Island String Quartet. The results earned Sutton a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2013. Six of her nine albums have received Grammy nominations over the years.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“one of the most-lauded jazz vocalists of her generation” -New York Times
“Sutton is a master of stretching notes, repeating words for emphasis, scatting to emphasize a melody… a marvel to watch and to hear” -Jazz Times
“Mitchell’s poetic songs about love and loss combined with Sutton’s delicate, ethereal-sounding voice made for a vivid combination.” -Indianapolis Examiner
“A serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level” -New York Times