As Americans, we grow up hearing that our founding fathers guaranteed us "the pursuit of happiness." For vocalist Tierney Sutton
, the fascinating part is that the guarantee is not for happiness itself, but rather for the search. On The Other Side
, her new album on Telarc, is about that search: the longing, the mania, the heartache and perhaps even the joy of finding something better than the thing we were chasing.
The Tierney Sutton Band's most focused statement yet, On The Other Side, is a bold recording - full of mystery, darkness and a tentative reemergence from the shadows. The thirteen-track set begins and ends with the same two classic songs, "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again."
In between, Sutton and her band - pianist Christian Jacob, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, and drummer Ray Brinker - also reinvent such timeless songs as "Glad To Be Unhappy," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Happy Talk," "I Want to Be Happy," "Make Someone Happy" and "Great Day." Not for the narrow-minded listener, Sutton's hypnotic read of "You Are My Sunshine" adds an entirely different shade of meaning, as does her take on "Haunted Heart."
"Happiness is a funny business," Sutton says. "When we started to look at this material, at the idea of happiness, and its subtext, we all realized that there was something deep here - and a lot of questions. This album was built on those questions. Last November, I lost my mom. During 30 years of tremendous suffering, my mother often referred to herself as a happy woman. I'll say it again, happiness is a funny business."
Made with care, creativity and a wonderfully intimate aesthetic, On The Other Side, continues the collaborative arranging process the band has followed for more than a dozen years and brings it to a new level. JazzTimes has said "Part of Sutton's brilliance is her ability to blend seamlessly with her bandmates." Sutton responds, "You can only attempt a record like this if you've been playing together for a very long time." Her singing is at a new peak, and the playing of the band as a whole, with many of the songs using two basses, has evolved to a breathtaking level. This is sublime jazz, music that changes the listener.
Sutton and her band recorded On The Other Side, in late August 2006 at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. Their sixth Telarc release also features the outstanding work of trumpeter/vocalist Jack Sheldon on two tracks. Produced by Elaine Martone and engineered by Robert Friedrich, the album is scheduled for release on February 6, 2007.