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On the Other Side

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Album Review

Few jazz vocalists set out to deconstruct a standard as thoroughly as Tierney Sutton does. Her past albums have hovered around a theme but none as devotedly as On the Other Side, which takes the simple concept of happiness and turns it on its ear. Sutton could have approached classics like "Happy Talk," "Make Someone Happy," "Happy Days Are Here Again," and "Get Happy" as most singers would, finding their sweet spots and putting on a big smile as she sang them with ebullience. But these are some of the saddest renditions of happy tunes you'll ever hear, and Sutton's reinventions are such a success because she is so believably bummed. Often turning to minor keys to shift the mood downward, she takes the giddy and makes it melancholy. Rodgers & Hart's "Glad to Be Unhappy," despite its title, is quite often sung as if that's a welcomed state; when Sutton delivers a line such as "It's a pleasure to be sad," she makes certain that she's not appearing ironic. In Jimmie Davis' "You Are My Sunshine," the listener is right to ask whether the singer really means "You'll never know how much I love you," because the loneliness in her voice is so palpable. As always, Sutton's band is entirely sympathetic, their unfussy arrangements providing Sutton with the tonal foundation her unorthodox interpretations require. Her use of two bassists on some tracks doesn't weigh the music down but instead reinforces the darkness Sutton so convincingly conveys. And pianist Christian Jacob, especially, is a major presence — Sutton's sole accompanist on the album-closing "Smile" (the Charlie Chaplin fave) is bluesy and mournful, the perfect complement to Sutton's unsmiling take. What's most interesting about On the Other Side, though, is that ultimately it doesn't feel like a downer. Sutton's voice is such a flexible, captivating instrument that it's a joy to follow, even as she's doing everything in her power to spread a frown. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Customer Reviews


Five Wonderful Stars! Tierney Sutton's 7th CD is just stunning. What a singer! What a voice! What a wild, mesmerizing vibrato! Most songs have "happy" in the title but the intensity of many is from the dark side of happy. Brilliant performances especially "Haunted Heart" which to me is the Jazz Vocal Performance of the Year, so far. Jack Sheldon is a great guest. Tierney is a SUPERB jazz singer.

On The Other Side

I think this is the best of Tierney's great albums. It is darker and more coplex than her prior efforts. She and pianist Christian Jacob increasingly grow together.


Tierney and her band continue to be one of the freshest voices on the jazz scene today. Its not enough that every member of her band brings an incerdible amount of virtuosity to the group. Christian Jacobs is the best jazz pianist today. His technique is flawless. His musicality is genious. Ray Brinker is one of the best. His ability to lay down a groove that is not over stated yet incredibly creative is mind numbing. He never gets in the way and yet is always present. He sets the ambience for each selection with impecable taste. The two bass players are both crazy good. Both work so well with Brinker its like they are attached at the brain. And then there is Miss Sutton. What a voice!! Its is so seemless; so under control. Its beauty is unmatched in jazz today. Her improvisations are so impressive. All of this alone would make them among the best in the business today but they go beyond that. Together they continue to take great songs and make them their own. Each song they take turns into a unique masterpiece. This collection is no different. Hear each of these great songs is like hearing them for the 1st time. What they do just makes me shake my head and say, "WOW!!!!!" And I have to hear it again and again. If you love jazz, you will too.

On the Other Side, The Tierney Sutton Band
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Customer Ratings