Reviewers tend to spend a good amount of time talking about technique and other matters while bypassing the simple question of whether a voice or instrument sounds good. But the sound of vocalist Tierney Sutton's wonderful, supple voice is hard to get around; it's just a pleasure to hear. Pairing her with a talented, sympathetic band, I’m With The Band is an appealing effort.
Recorded live at Birdland on March 29-30, 2005, Sutton and company tackle sixteen standards with class and sensitivity. “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise” opens with some lovely, wordless, abstract vocalizing before launching into the familiar body of the song. As on most of the uptempo numbers featured here, Sutton skillfully bends and shapes the lyrics with rapid-fire precision. She takes liberties with her phrasing, obviously caught up in the moment, but never becomes grating or self-indulgent.
Of course, such a pure voice is made to sing ballads, and Sutton dazzles on a haunting version of “If I Loved You.” She performs the song with such apparent ease and grace that one can only bask in the hush and hit the replay button when it’s over. Although it does not hit the same peak, “Blue Skies” is also given a fine reading with a gentle but insistent pulse from drummer Ray Brinker.
I’m With The Band is a real charmer: an assured and lyrical exhibition of classic songs by musicians of impeccable taste.
Stephen Latessa - allaboutjazz.com
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