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American Road

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 6, 2011
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 6, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BFM Jazz
  • ASIN: B005D1IFY4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have waxed rhapsodically about the Tierney Sutton Band before. How can you not? This group of true musicians (Tierney Sutton, vocals; Christian Jacob, piano; Ray Brinker, percussion; Trey Henry, bass; and Kevin Axt, (also) bass) consistently challenge themselves to take the familiar, find the essence of the song, and interpret it in a way that has not been heard before. And they consistently succeed. When a new album of theirs hits the market, you not only know it's going to be stunning, you ask "How can they top the last one?"

I won't say they have topped "Desire," or "On the Other Side." I will say that they have added a very worthy complement to those superb albums, with another superb one.

In this c.d., the T.S. Band's theme is America. They have gone off to look for America. But they have done considerably more than take a four-day hitchhike from Saginaw.

Finding America means finding its roots. And that means finding its folk source (e.g., "Wayfaring Strangers" and "Shenandoah"), but also its spirituality (e.g., "The Water is Wide" and "Amazing Grace," that most spiritual of all hymns). And to emphasize the source, it means hearing the similarities between "The Water Is Wide" and "Shenandoah," and combining them into one.

Finding America means exploring the golden ages of American music, meaning the '30's and the '60's. So, the T.S. Band gives us a swingin' jazz version of the neglected Arlen classic, "The Eagle and Me." Even more, the Band gives us a set of Gershwin, but puts a rock back beat to "It Ain't Necessarily So." But the '60's was also a golden era of jazz (along with the late '50's), and for all the many ways "Summertime" has been interpreted, this is the first modal jazz re-visit of the classic I've ever heard.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Tierney Sutton Band CD "American Road" is brilliant in every way, and is easily one of the finest jazz albums of 2011! Once again, everyone in the band contributes their own musical genius, and having worked together for over 18 years, they are so amazingly intertwined and natural that it stagers the mind, imagination and ears. "American Road" (like several releases by the band) plays on a theme - this time a tribute to the music of Americana that is just that - avoiding any political correctness or bashing - 'allowing the listener to be a proud American once again, even if just for the music. The rendition of "America the Beautiful" is stunning, as are most every other cut on the CD. "Tenderly" is wonderfully earthy and minimalist with just Tierney singing accompanied by the brilliant Christian Jacob on piano. The mash-up of "Oh Shenandoah/The Water is Wide" is nothing short of musical magic with Jacob's masterful arranging and counterpoint. Tierney's scat and beautiful articulation are so skillful - few seem to master both. This album is as well thought-out as it is performed. You won't be disappointed!
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I have every single album Tierney has released under her (or the band's) name, and this new project, American Road, is one longtime Tierney Sutton fans and newcomers alike will not want to miss. As for mood, it reminds me most of the previous album, Desire, which was a thrill for me because I like Desire perhaps the most of all of their albums except possibly Blue in Green, the marvelous tribute to Bill Evans. With respect to Desire, though, this album is not just "more of the same."

On American Road, the band has maintained the exceedingly high level of Desire and other previous releases with excellent song choices (all with an Americana theme or some other connection, direct or indirect, to America); fresh, intriguing, sometimes haunting arrangements; beautiful, hip singing by Tierney; and outstanding support from the band (Christian Jacob is, hands down, one of the best jazz pianists on the scene today).

Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I wouldn't call this the single best album from Tierney Sutton. Both the Bill Evans album and the Frank Sinatra tribute album (the best such album, because it evokes some of the depth and beautify of Ole Blue's Capitol "concept" albums from the fifties) could easily qualify for that singular honor, as could the more light-hearted session that features an appearance by the shamefully underrated, inimitable (whether trumpet or voice) Jack Sheldon. But "American Road" is certainly right up there with her other sterling projects.

With Tierney you can count on two features that set her albums apart from the field: 1. a keen musical intelligence that shapes what is less a collection of familiar songs than a thematic whole, a virtual tone poem evoking images, stories, and emotions related to a unifying idea; 2. A rhythm section that, especially due to the presence of pianist Christian Jacob, is practically an extension of the vocalist's thematic design and high musical standards, which insist on fresh and unusual arrangements capable of making the most thread-worn material strike the listener as newly minted.

"American Roads" starts by establishing a sense of place with three "public domain" songs that survey the lay of the land as the immediate successors to Columbus may have seen it. It then goes into the nation's urban heart with "On Broadway," then to the history and hope of an oppressed people as conveyed by "Amazing Grace," and next to acceptance of these people, whose experience is part of a multifarious history, incorporated into a New World melting pot dissolving differences between "high" and "low" culture and black and white skin color through a "folk" opera about African-American people composed by a Jewish-American musician: Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess.
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