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After Blue

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 24, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

After nine CDs over 20 years with her longstanding Tierney Sutton band, the five-time Grammy-nominated Jazz vocalist decided to leave her comfort zone and leap off the cliff by tackling an homage to the revered pop singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. With After Blue, her most daring and revealing project to date, Sutton puts her own unique stamp on familiar Mitchell tunes going back to 1969's "Both Sides Now" and 1970's "Big Yellow Taxi" and including more recent numbers like 1979's "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" and 1982's jivey "Be Cool," along with Joni's take on the standard "Don't Go to Strangers" from her 2000 orchestral album, Both Sides Now.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • ASIN: B00EFFW0Z4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By RBSProds TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Five MARVELOUS Stars! Multiple Grammy-nominated jazz diva Tierney Sutton uses her clear, sweet soprano and jazz sensibility to deliver, in my opinion, one of the greatest recordings of her career with "After Blue": a tribute to the legendary, high-influential singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, using both original Mitchell compositions and songs of other composers which are associated with Joni. Tierney's liner notes say this Mitchell recording has been a decade in coming to fruition, as she steeped herself in the experience and appreciation of Joni's music and occasionally performed some of her songs in public. Stepping away from the Tierney Sutton Band for this occasion, she joins forces, in various combinations, with the strings of the Turtle Island Quartet, pianist Larry Goldings, flautist Hubert Laws, TSB bandmate acoustical bassist Kevin Axt, guitarist Serge Merlaud, drummer Peter Erskine, and special guest, vocal icon Al Jarreau on "Be Cool", among others.

All tracks are excellent, and the 'best of the best' begins with the sumptuous, swirling "Blue" and "Little Green", both featuring Tierney soaring in both scat and vocal modes, showing off that incredible Sutton vibrato, with great support from the Turtle Island Quartet. "All I Want" is Tierney splendidly singing over a bed of pizzicato strings and drums. The stark duo contrast of Tierney's voice and Larry Goldings' piano works great on "Court and Spark" and "Woodstock", as Tierney hums and vocalizes these marvelous lyrics. The Joni Mitchell, Charles Mingus opus "The Drycleaner from Des Moines" has Tierney effectively trading improvised notes with Hubert Laws' hip flute and Goldings' soulful B3 organ.
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By K. Knox on September 25, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
For me what sets Joni Mitchell apart is that she is an innovator of the highest order in all of her art. Writing songs whose lyrics need no musical accompaniment in order to give you gooseflesh when reading them as pure poetry is just the beginning. Her wildly innovative guitar tunings, daring cadences and brilliant wordplay have always given her a very "jazzy" feel, even early on when she was categorized as a folk musician.

Richard Thompson comes to mind when I think of Mitchell - he's far more under-appreciated as a songwriter but they have a lot in common, starting with impeccable taste, intelligence and writing the kind of music that very few people can offer interpretations of that add anything to the original songs. Judy Collins certainly did a credible job with "Both Sides Now," but it adds nothing to the original, in my opinion, but Tierney Sutton's efforts are in another league entirely. Clearly she's been living with these songs for a very long time, and despite being perhaps the greatest living jazz vocalist brings an attitude of utter humility to this project. As with all of her recordings, the arrangements are both daring and painstakingly wrought, and the accompanists chosen with the utmost care. This is a tribute recording that opens new dimensions of appreciation for the original songs, for Mitchell's trailblazing brilliance, and - last not least - makes me very happy to be alive at a time when Tierney Sutton can still be seen singing live!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've only recently become interested in Joni Mitchell's compositions and recordings, but I own every album Tierney and her band have released. Tierney is my favorite living jazz vocalist, with Stacey Kent being a close second. I was intrigued but also a little nervous when I found out that her new album After Blue would be a tribute to singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell (I was already familiar with Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters and a few covers of Mitchell tunes that fellow Canadian Diana Krall has recorded over the years). I wasn't sure whether I'd like this kind of album, though I knew Tierney had done an excellent Bill Evans tribute album, Blue in Green, some years ago.

To fully appreciate After Blue, I felt I needed a crash course in Joni Mitchell, so I listened to her famous albums Blue and Court and Spark beforehand. I was amazed that I hadn't paid more attention to Joni Mitchell's recordings. When I listened to After Blue a couple of days later, I was ready to appreciate just what a brilliant tribute project Tierney and her collaborators have put together. The arrangements are interesting, varied, and beautiful. Tierney's nuanced approach to Mitchell's music evidences a deep understanding and long familiarity with these tunes, which Tierney talks about in the liner notes. Some standout tracks, to me, include "Court and Spark," "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines," "Little Green," and the stunning medley closer, "April in Paris/Free Man in Paris." The melding of the standard "April in Paris" and Mitchell's "Free Man in Paris" is simply ingenious and beautiful.

If you're a Tierney Sutton fan like me, this one is not to be missed. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I have collected over 400 covers of Joni's songs, and I have to echo those reviewers who praise this album by Tierney Sutton as a masterpiece. The arrangements are fresh and moody, allowing Ms. Sutton to deliver Joni's powerful lyrics with grace and originality. Her soaring voice is perfectly matched for Joni's songs, able to climb to the high notes without too much vibrato or losing the pitch. The strings on "Little Green" are wonderful, as is the single drum accompanying Ms. Sutton on "Big Yellow Taxi". My other favorite CD's with jazzy versions of Joni's songs are by Leora Cashe and Sally Barker. Together with Ms. Sutton's, these three CD's will show you another side of Joni's music.
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