Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes - Tierney Sutton After Blue
This is another gem in a very long string of gems from talented West Coast singer Tierney Sutton. (Never mind that she’s a Midwesterner by birth and was educated in the Northeast. She has been based in Southern California for all of her recording career.) After Blue is Sutton’s exquisite tribute to the songs and singing of Joni Mitchell, with a long list of collaborators that includes the Turtle Island String Quartet, pianist/organist Larry Goldings, drummer Peter Erskine, singer Al Jarreau and flute player Hubert Laws on various tracks. Most tracks are spare, with only one, two or three accompanists save for the two tracks on which she’s wonderfully supported by the Turtles (“Blue” and “Little Green”). The minimalist backing further illuminates Sutton’s way with a song.
This is also the first recording in 20 years on which Sutton has eschewed the personnel of her Tierney Sutton Band, save for an appearance on one track by TSB bassist Kevin Axt. Favorites: her spartan duet with drummer Ralph Humphrey (an occasional TSB sub) on “Big Yellow Taxi,” her piano-voice duet with Goldings on “Woodstock,” her duet with Turtle Island String Quartet member Mark Summers on “Both Sides Now,” guitarist Serge Merlaud’s duet with Sutton on “Answer Me, My Love” and a clever Sutton-arranged medley blending the lyrics of “April in Paris” and Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris.” Trust me, it’s all good.