Concert Review: Tierney Sutton Band at the Catalina Bar and Grill

“We were looking for a new direction, something new,” jazz singer Tierney Sutton shared with her audience last Saturday night at the Catalina Bar and Grill, “We wanted an artist with deep jazz roots, but whose songs have a wider appeal.”

And something new they found. Using Sting’s vast repertoire as a springboard, the Tierney Sutton Band diverges from the standard notion of what jazz is to create something that can only be described as Norah Jones goes Broadway.

Known for 10 successful albums and most recently for the motion picture soundtrack, Sully, the Tierney Sutton Band has been together since 1993 and carries with them a sense of family that is palpable even to the audience. Their latest project, The Sting Variations, is intent to “serve the soul of the song maybe even in a different way than Sting meant” and seemed to resonate strongly with the older audience that filled Catalina’s large, yet surprisingly overcrowded space.

If one is looking for a show resembling Harlem-Renaissance inspired improv jazz, this is not that, it sides more with a jazz “restyling” that mirrors the Stephen Sondheim Revue ‘Bed and a Chair’ that premiered at New York’s City Center in November 2013. Are these new and bold ventures? No. Do they offer a complex reimagined look into what many consider standards? Yes.

A particular standout number is the classic The Police hit, Every Breath You Take. At its best, it’s a love note from a non-violent stalker, while at its worse it’s a warning to its subject who needs to file a restraining order. Tierney Sutton delivers the song with a delicate tenderness, performing it as a mother’s lullaby to their newborn.

It cannot be contested that the Tierney Sutton Band is an established and talented group. And though this particular performance lacked a certain spark of excitement, the artists in question brought their love of their craft and personality, which was endearing to experience.

You can catch more jazz legends like the Tierney Sutton Band at the Catalina Bar and Grill Jazz Club on almost any day of the week. A calendar of future performers can be found at http://catalinajazzclub.com or you can call (323)-466-2210. Tickets usually range $30+ in addition to an “entertainment charge” which requires patrons to also purchase dinner or a two-drink minimum per person at the table.

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