Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

She’s Got the Blues

event tierneyblueTierney Sutton takes on the Joni Mitchell catalog

Tierney Sutton’s most recent album, After Blue, was a long time coming. Specifically, more than two decades long. But given that the album is Sutton’s take on various songs from the Joni Mitchell catalog, she was not about to rush into anything.

“The moment I began singing professionally, people began suggesting Joni Mitchell's music to me, so this project was brewing on some level for 25 or 30 years,” Sutton says. “But I knew that Joni's music was complex, serious, and not to be approached without some deep knowledge.”

Ironically, the jazz vocalist was not exposed to a lot of Mitchell’s work early on in her life. When she became more serious about jazz in her late teens, most of her familiarity with Mitchell came from jazz-tinged numbers like “Goodbye, Porkpie Hat” and Mitchell’s cover of “Twisted,” in addition to a few of her early hits. But it was her release of Both Sides Now—an album largely comprised of jazz standards—in 2000, that really won Sutton over.

“I listened to that album as much as teenagers in the ’70s listened to her Blue, I'm sure,” says Sutton. “After that, I knew I needed to really spend time with her earlier albums, and so I did, not thinking I would sing any of the songs any time soon, but just because I knew this was education I needed.” 

As time went on, Sutton began to imagine what it would be like to record an album of Mitchell covers.

“I wanted to make sure [the album] represented different eras in her work,” she says. “Yes, her early work is great, but much of the later work is also fantastic, regardless of whether [people] ‘got it.’ I wanted to represent that and avoid songs that have been covered often and well, like ‘A Case of You’ or ‘The River.’ I was committed, for example, to recording ‘Little Green,’ the song she wrote about giving up her daughter for adoption, which is virtually never covered.”

The 12 tracks on After Blue—which was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards—reimagine some of Mitchell’s songs in intriguing ways. “Court and Spark,” for instance, is transformed from a lively acoustic jaunt into more of a romantic, piano jazz ballad, and Sutton’s version of “All I Want” puts more emphasis on percussion and bass than the guitar which leads Mitchell’s version. The addition of strings to “Little Green” also adds some depth to the original track.

It’s an ambitious project, given the highly regarded source material, but Sutton says she had no qualms about making the album.

“Once I fall in love with a song, I forget any fears I might have,” Sutton says. “It's like any kind of ‘falling in love’—you lose your sense of trying to protect yourself and just fall. I heard someone say long ago, ‘Love is not an emotion; it's an action,’ so, if the love is real, I think you try your best to serve the song and work to get inside it. All I can hope is that it's clear that I love this music.” 


Tierney Sutton will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/adv, $30/door. For more information, call 427-2227.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster