December 2001

Tierney Sutton - Blue In Green
Telarc CD 83522
Released: 2001

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

[Reviewed on CD]Having thoroughly enjoyed Tierney Sutton’s debut album (Unsung Heroes), I was curious whether Blue In Green would retain the debut album's strengths. I also had high hopes for this release's sonic quality.

Telarc's recent use of the DSD recording system has generated some of the finest sounding recordings I've heard to date, and I was initially disappointed to note that Blue In Green was 20-bit PCM, but the sound is extremely good, if not quite up to the DSD standard Telarc has established. About the only things missing were a bit of vocal 3-Dness and a true sense of ambience. However, in comparison to much of the music being offered from the major labels these days, this CD is outstanding.

Vocally, Ms. Sutton sounds much more relaxed and assured here than she has been previously. She seems more comfortable in the recording studio and she allows more of her personality to emerge. This makes for a closer connection between the listener and Ms. Sutton, who is ably accompanied by pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker, with Bill Evans' last drummer, Joe LaBarbera, on "Waltz For Debbie/Tiffany."

As you might expect from the album's title, Blue In Green is a recording of tunes associated with the late, great jazz pianist Bill Evans. And, just as Evans had a formal, classically trained style, so too does Tierney Sutton. She remains true to the essence of each song, while still imbuing each with her own improvisations. This is no mere recitation of these old standards, no sir. These songs are Ms. Sutton's very own interpretations. And it will only take a listen or two before we can begin to associate these with not only Evans, but Tierney Sutton, too.

There is much competition in the field of the jazz diva these days. Singers such as Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, Jane Monhiet, Kendra Shank, veteran Abby Lincoln, and current standard-bearer Patricia Barber, offer stiff battle to the newcomer in the field. Yet Tierney Sutton has no reason to fold up her tent and go home. With Blue In Green, she has shown that she belongs front and center among the multitudes vying for the opening atop the pedestal vacated with the passing of Carmen McRea, as the jazz diva of her generation.