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Singer Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton has emerged as one of the most versatile singers in contemporary jazz. And she's added to her following by paying close study to the standards of Bill Evans and Frank Sinatra, arranging the songs to fit her own strengths.

A young woman from Milwaukee journeys east to study Russian literature, the heady stuff of Dostoevsky and Chekhov. But, with other things in mind, she goes to the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, studies Bird and Monk, gets a record contract and winds up teaching at a prestigious Los Angeles university. Just a Russian fairy tale? Not for Tierney Sutton, our featured artist on this edition of Jazzset.

If you've followed the career of Tierney Sutton, you know she's interested in the fine points of the great American songbook, those bedrock compositions familiar to several generations of listeners. Yet, among those songs, Tierney finds the ones that are pliable enough to support new, challenging interpretations. No wonder she appreciates Frank Sinatra.

Tierney says she came to be a Sinatra fan relatively late in her career. Her recent Telarc release, Dancing in the Dark, is made up entirely of music associated with the Chairman of the Board. But it's a particular Sinatra that gets her the most -- "my Frank, the Frank that had a broken heart, stomped on by Ava Gardner. That's all the best recording that he ever did, late '50s, early '60s, that's the stuff."

Tierney Sutton and her well-rehearsed trio work through her favorite music, including her favorites from Frank Sinatra*.

Sutton currently teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her latest CD on Telarc is Dancing in the Dark

"Blue in Green" (Bill Evans, Miles Davis; lyric by Meredith d'Ambrosio)
"Early Autumn" (Ralph Burns, Woody Herman; lyric by Johnny Mercer)
*"Without a Song" (Billy Rose and Vincent Youmans)
*"Old Devil Moon" (EY "Yip" Harburg and Burton Lane, from the 1947 show Finian's Rainbow)
*"The Lady Is a Tramp" (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart from the 1935 show Babes in Arms)
*"I Fall in Love Too Easily" (Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne)
"Alone Together" (Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz)
"'S Wonderful" (Gershwins)
"I'll Be Around" (Alec Wilder)
"Blue Skies" (Irving Berlin)

Piano: Christian Jacob
Bass: Trey Henry
Drums: Ray Brinker


  • Tierney Sutton

  • Kennedy Center Jazz

  • Sutton at Telarc Records

    Kevin Struthers and company at Kennedy Center Jazz; artistic advisor: Billy Taylor
    Music mixer: Greg Hartman with Chris Weal, Big Mo Recording writer: Brian Sanders in Los Angeles; audio engineer: Ginger Bruner at KUNV in Las Vegas
    And the JazzSet team: Technical Director Duke Markos, Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe, Producer Becca Pulliam at WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark, NJ.

    Copyright 2007 NPR