Following widespread acclaim for her heartfelt homage to Joni Mitchell on 2013’s Grammy-nominated After Blue, singer Tierney Sutton returns in the revealing setting of duos and trios on Paris Sessions.
Referred to as devastatingly intimate by her colleague Mark Summer, cellist and founder of the Turtle Island Quartet, this collection of romantic standards and three originals by French guitarist Serge Merlaud casts a spell from the opening track, You Must Believe in Spring to the delicate closer, Answer Me, My Love.
Recorded in one creative burst over two December days in 2012 at Val d’Orge Studio, Paris Sessions features Tierney Sutton’s soaring wordless vocals on three Merlaud compositions (Ilm, Asma and Izzat).
Sutton brings impeccable articulation and natural phrasing to the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman (Michel Legrand’s You Must Believe in Spring), Lorenz Hart (Richard Rodgers’ You’re Nearer), Carl Sigman (Duke Ellington’s All Too Soon), Redd Evans and Arthur Kent (Don’t Go To Strangers) and Edward Heyman (Johnny Green’s Body and Soul).
The chemistry between singer, guitarist Merlaud and bassist Kevin Axt is maintained throughout this personal project. In the tradition of classics like Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours, John Coltrane’s Ballads and John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Sutton’s eleventh recording as a leader sets an alluring mood from beginning to end.
Sutton first met Merlaud 20 years before the Paris Sessions took place, and later ended up meeting Alan and Marilyn Bergman through Jack Sheldon, regarding their lyric for You Must Believe in Spring as a personal anthem of hope.
For their latest reunion in the studio, the chemistry between Sutton and Merlaud, alternating between nylon string acoustic and electric guitars, is immediate on the duet numbers You Must Believe in Spring, Ilm, You’re Nearer, Body and Soul and Answer Me, My Love.
Axt added his resounding tones on acoustic bass guitar for the seven trio numbers, including bossa nova renditions of Beija Flor and Bruno Martino’s Estate.
Axt also contributes some deft chordal comping behind Sutton and Merlaud on Don’t Go to Strangers, Ellington’s All Too Soon and the melancholy Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me.
Two of the tracks on Paris Sessions, Don’t Go To Strangers and Answer Me My Love, were included as part of Sutton’s After Blue. They provide a link between these two very potent and personal recordings by Sutton.