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Mark Summer and Tierney Sutton

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Jazz Diva meets Cello Virtuoso

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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

BOX OFFICE 612-332-5299

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Tierney Sutton Media

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Mark Summer

Grammy award winning cellist Mark Summer and six-time Grammy nominee vocalist Tierney Sutton will perform an evening of chamber jazz celebrating the music of Joni Mitchell. They will be joined by Parisian guitarist Serge Merlaud, performing selections from Tierney’s Grammy nominated release “AfterBlue” as well as jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, and Mark’s celebrated solo cello repetoire. This evening is presented under the auspices of Cello: An American Experience, a summer music program for young cellists where Mark has been an instructor for the past 3 years.

Listen to the interview with Mark Summer and Anna Clift, founder of Cello: An American Experience on MPR, and check out the exchange between Alison and Tierney.

About Mark Summer

Mark Summer is a founding member of the two time Grammy winning Turtle Island Quartet and is widely regarded, thanks not least to his phenomenal percussion and pizzicato techniques, as one of the outstanding cellists of our time.

A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a recipient of their 2008 Distinguished Alumnae award, Summer was a tenured member of the Winnipeg Symphony for three years, before leaving the orchestra to perform in several Canadian contemporary and Baroque ensembles, as well as his own group, The West-End String Band. Asked to perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1985, the group went on to record Summer’s original music for CBC Radio. That same year, Summer visited the Bay Area where he was invited by David Balakrishnan to help form the quartet.

He continued to touch base with his classical roots, performing with the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco, the Oakland Symphony, Oakland Ballet, and the contemporary music ensemble, Earplay. In the 23 years since embarking on an improvisational musical odyssey, Summer has continued to develop a unique and multi-timbered style, which incorporates virtuoso jazz soloing, distinctive bass lines, and extensive percussive techniques adapted from the guitar, bass and drums.

He has been the subject of feature articles in Strings and Bass Player magazines, and has published two pieces for solo cello, one of which, “Julie-O,” has been performed by cellists all over the world. In addition to composing and performing with Turtle Island Quartet, Summer performed for several years in a trio with clarinet virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera, participating in the trio’s 2005 Grammy-nominated recording The Jazz Chamber Trio. He has been recorded for numerous motion picture soundtracks and performed and appeared on albums with singers Linda Ronstadt, Toni Childs, guitarist Jeff Tamelier of Tower of Power, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and guitarist Will Ackerman. His more notable cello exploits include performing the Brahms Clarinet Trio in a sandstone grotto by the banks of the Colorado River in Moab, Utah, and a performance on Taos Mountain at 11,000 feet on a cello made of ice.

Tierney Sutton

About Tierney Sutton

tierney suttonTierney 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