One night at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz CA
Tierney Sutton’s flair for imaginative arrangements is a large part of her artistic nature. Recently named Jazz Vocalist of the Year by JazzWeek, her eponymous Tierney Sutton Band – run as a cooperative with all members contributing ideas – has been together for over two decades, acquiring eight Grammy nominations in the process. The group includes pianist Christian Jacobs, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, and Ray Brinker on drums. ScreenPlay, their newest recording, is an ambitious project released in five volumes, starting with songs written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman in The Bergman Suite, followed by Technicolor, Golden Age, Montage, and The Sully Variations (the band’s own music for Clint Eastwood’s award-winning film Sully). The New York Times observes: “[Tierney has] a voice as pure and sparkling as mountain spring water.”
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Sutton grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She attended Connecticut’s Wesleyan University and went on to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Many of Sutton’s albums are usually based around a central theme or tribute. Her Joni Mitchell tribute, After Blue, netted a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2013. Aside from the Mitchell tribute, other tribute recordings include Blue In Green, featuring the music of pianist Bill Evans, Dancing in the Dark, highlighting Frank Sinatra classics, and The Sting Variations, reinventing the music of Sting. Sutton’s Paris Sessions, a mix of standards and her own compositions, received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2015.