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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: #98,340 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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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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Tierney Sutton and her band are synergistic and her albums are band albums. As one of her previous titles observed: "I'm with the Band." These slower, thoughtful tracks, all familiar standards from spirituals to Broadway, owe much to the rich, expressive piano work of Christian Jacob, especially, and the understated drum accents of Ray Brinker and the bass lines of Kevin Axg and Trey Henry. The entire band arranges the music, and how extraordinarily interesting their statements are! The lyrics stand up bold this way, and though we have heard them thousands of times, we listen attentively. Tierney's pure voice is heard in stark, wonderful detail. Already a 2011 Grammy nominee (thus far), it is one of the band's best albums. Rhythm, clarity, and passion underlie their effort. The album clocks 61 minutes, unusual for a jazz work, and I am amazed how fast it went. Kudos to all on these grand recordings.
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I love this album. I like listening to "old standards" and "the Great American Songbook" tunes. But they must be sung and/or played respectfully and with originality. Not always easy to do. Tierney and her band have done both very well. Her voice is beautiful and the songs are performed creatively. Much good thought and preparation went into the album. The inclusion of "On Broadway" was a bit of a surprise but it has become one of my favorites. This band is one of the best in jazz. I also saw Tierney perform with The Turtle Island String Quartet and again there was that beautiful voice and creative performance. If you have not heard Tierney and her band perform you can see some of her performances with her band and with the Turtle Island group on You Tube. I think you will also become a fan.
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