The Tierney Sutton Band completed a three-day gig at Catalina Jazz Club October 13-15. They presented a tribute to Sting and also covered the theme song from their songtrack for the great new film Sully. We attended their Saturday night show, October 15th.
The Tierney Sutton Band (TSB) has been together twenty-three years, and operates as a collaborative with all band members involved in all musical and business decisions. Sutton and her band have received multiple Grammy nominations, including six for Best Jazz Vocal Album and one (in 2011) for arranging, the first collaborative team to earn that honor. The TSB includes Christian Jacob (piano), Trey Henry and Kevin Axt (bass), Ray Brinker (drums), and Tierney Sutton (vocals); Henry appeared on bass at Catalina’s.
The band opened with Sting’s “Driven to Tears” starting with a nod to the Miles Davis’ “So What,” based on a story regarding social responsibility with interesting lyrics and some excellent scatting as well. Sutton’s voice is clear and appealing and resonates well. She made some remarks about their new Sting Variations (tribute to Sting released last month) and followed with a number of tunes from the new album. On “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free,” the trio gave impressive musical backing and played many jazzy flairs. “Seven Days” was next, a moving number with lots of rhythm. Sting recorded “Shadows in the Rain” a couple of times. The group performed this one very well. The audience gave their applause of approval during all of these gems.
Brinker’s drumming and Henry’s bass provided a big beginning for “Walking in Your Footsteps,” producing a lot of very uptempo rhythms for this piece. Sutton did some “cooing” on this and some other songs also in this one-set show. She sang “Fragile/Gentle Rain” with the trio at its most elegant, one of the best numbers of the evening! More Sting songs, “Message in a Bottle,” “Fields of Gold,” and “Fortress Around Your Heart,” continued to the middle of the show.
Each member of the group took turns announcing the songs, giving a little history of each tune along the way. Sutton told the story of how they were asked to be involved with the new movie Sully. They received a call from Clint Eastwood, asking them for their availability and also asking for pianist/composer Christian Jacob to write the soundtrack for the movie. Jacob came through wonderfully. Sutton and her trio presented the theme song of the movie, “Flying Home.” Her lyrics were graceful and,once again, elegant.
Continuing with The Sting Variations, they performed “Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic” with a brilliant solo from Brinker. Then they followed with “Every Breath You Take” (a beautiful ballad) and “Language of Birds.” “Synchronicity” was the last tune before closing the evening, an interesting creation, Latinized with some groovy montuno patterns. The Sutton Band received a standing ovation and then played an encore from the Sting album, “Consider Me Gone.”
An excellent jazz show! See Tierney Sutton’s website: http://www.tierneysutton.com for this splendid group’s activities.
Adapted from L.A. Jazz Scene, November 2016 issue