The show, put on by the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival and coinciding with the International Association of Jazz Educators, IAJE conference that took place in Toronto, January 9th to the 12th. The conference also featured the Tierney Sutton Band as one of the guest performers and Ms. Sutton as one of the workshop facilitators. As a member of the IAJE, I was able to catch a part of that performance, a different experience, as the performance took place in The John Basset Theatre, a small theatre in the Toronto Convention Centre. The theatre is a less intimate venue than the Old Mill Inn, but with better sound quality and a completely different vibe. The vibe of peer pressure? I don’t know, professional musicians playing for professional musicians, or educators, or both. A larger venue that can never compare to the intimacy of a nightclub that is packed with an audience that is dialed in for a performance of vocalist Tierney Sutton.
The Old Mill Inn performance started with a darker than normal version of "Dancing In The Dark" followed by "What Will I Do" songs from the Tierney Sutton Bands’ 2004 Telarc release, Dancing In The Dark as Ms. Sutton explained, inspired by the music of Francis Albert Sinatra. The attentive audience, the rooms quaint ambiance and the Tierney Sutton Bands’ incredible synergy created a warm and friendly feel that seemed nostalgic, that feeling of old friends getting together and listening to songs around the old stone fire place while sipping apple cider came to mind.
Tierney Sutton is a wonderful performer; she has the complete package, of beautiful looks, great stage personality and the instrumental vocal qualities, of a highly developed singer that blends perfectly with her band. The band, Christian Jacob playing piano, a very passionate pianist who plays a classical style with a touching and impeccable jazz flair. Mr. Jacobs' adds wonderful accompaniment and can step out and lift you out of your seat with intricate runs and breath taking lines of beauty. The bassist, Kevin Axt, playing an electric, stand up bass and possessing tremendous chops, plays with a warm and melodic tone. The drummer Ray Brinker, one of the best brush masters, and a drummer who is completely in the pocket for accompaniment of a vocalist, while willing and able to break out to lay down some incredible patterns and fills that are some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.
"Devil May Care" the rhythm section picks up the groove and builds to an event of high drama, with the leader providing an outstanding instrumental vocalization. Ms. Sutton feeds off of her rhythm section and quite obviously the band feeds off of her, the energy of the group builds in sync and the sound is as one, wonderfully blended and most audibly pleasing and delightful.
Ms. Sutton has the gift of magical phrasing, her phrasing pulls you in to the arrangement, making you very aware of the melody and putting you slightly on edge as you anticipate where the ending to her phrase will magically appear. When the phrase is fully developed and musically applied by Ms. Sutton it is awe inspiring, "Blue Skies" and "Let’s Face The Music And Dance" both are good examples and were performed live with a great feel.
The Tierney Sutton Band performed songs from the new album, as well as songs from the bands previous albums. The band has been together for fifteen years, producing seven CD’s and over one hundred arrangements, they can cover quite a bit of material. The audience seemed thrilled with the material chosen for this show, the presentation, the performance and the performers. Ms. Sutton made mention of the Toronto Jazz Festival and implied the band would be on the summer festivals bill, the audience applauded this news with delight. So here's to looking forward to the TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival featuring the Tierney Sutton Band, mark your calendars - June 20th to the 29th.