Tierney Sutton

 

Paris Sessions

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.

 

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Leonardo Padura

 

 

The Man Who Loved Dogs

My generation owes a debt of gratitude to The Stranglers for introducing us to the name of Leon Trotsky.
In No More Heroes, Hugh Cornwall snarled: ‘Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky/He got an ice pick/That made his ears burn.’
Of the many political assassinations in the last century, that of Trotsky in his Mexican hideout on the eve of World War II, remains the most up close and personal, though, to his credit, Cuban Leonardo Padura avoids the temptation to be graphic in his sprawling 576 page novel, The Man Who Loved Dogs.
If Brutus was prepared to deliver the fatal blow to Caesar, not because he loved him less but that he loved Rome more, the same cannot be said of Padura’s anti-hero, Ramon Mercader, whose quest to murder Trotsky simmers like a saucepan of milk on the back burner.
With Mercader, death will have its dominion at any price.
The Man Who Loved Dogs is a fictional-factual hybrid, an ambitious and meandering revisiting of the nebulous and paranoid world of espionage before and after the Spanish Civil War, when the fascist and communist monoliths of Germany and the USSR were planning to carve up Europe.
With a cast list longer than Roots, The Man Who Loved Dogs flitters between the present – Cuban writer Ivan Cardenas Maturell hooks up with an older Mercader and his two Russian wolfhounds in Havana in 1978 – and the past, Trotsky’s enforced exile in Mexico City in 1940, and the achingly slow countdown to his assassination.
We are familiar with the Man With No Name, now meet the man with too many: Mercader and his associates within the KGB have several aliases (Mercader was known as Jacson to Trotsky and Jacques Mornard to the Mexican police) which Padura exchanges at will, but not with the same clarity as John Le Carre, and as such you have to unweave the tapestry to remind yourself of who’s who.
With Joycean long sentences and numerous walk on roles (Frida Kahlo), The Man Who Loved Dogs, with an almost encyclopedic explanation of the polarity between Trotsky and Stalin, and a Google-like fidelity to the description of streets in New York and Paris, is a patient read, and though the temptation is always there to skip the political sermonising, stick with it.
Unfortunately, Padura’s depiction of Ramon Mercader concludes sympathetically, but in reality he was an unrepentant and ruthless Stalinist sycophant, who ingratiated himself with an ageing but hospitable Trotsky and, with his guard down, buried an ice pick into the back of his head. One finished the book suspecting that Padura’s empathy lies with his multidimensional Mercader, and not the one dimensional Trotsky, which is not so easy to fathom.

 

Andrea Motis / Joan Chamorro

 

Feeling Good

Andrea Motis, with mentor and bandleader Joan Chamorro, is something of a rising star in her native Spain. Videos of the teenager performing in concert halls have amassed hundreds of thousands of views on You Tube, due to a combination of exquisite voice and incredible virtuosity on both trumpet and saxophone.

A product of Barcelona’s renowned Sant Andreu Jazz Band, which is made up of children and teenagers, Motis’ exceptional ability as a singer, trumpeter and saxophonist has set her apart from her peers.

When Motis was 14, Chamorro recorded an album Joan Chamorro Presenta Andrea Motis, to showcase her prodigious talents to the competitive Barcelona jazz scene.

It gave Motis the opportunity to play for the first time with renown musicians like Ignasi Terraza, Josep Traver, Eseve Pi, Dani Alonso and the late American clarinetist Bobby Gordon, who passed away earlier this year and is best-known for his Arbors recordings and for his association with Marty Grosz.

Two years ago, Motis and Chamorro teamed up again to put together Feeling Good, an album of live recordings from various concerts in Barcelona, and the marked development of Motis’ musicianship is quite astounding.

Her mature approach to interpreting classic standards belies her age and she has displayed virtuosity on the trumpet and saxophone, previously unseen, where all of her solos are entirely hers.

Released, however, to little fanfare in Spain, the story of a 16 year-old trumpet-playing, saxophone-wielding virtuoso with a voice like Norah Jones has gradually captured the imagination of the public and critics alike.

Since then, the partnership of Motis and Chamorro has gone from strength to strength, and they have toured extensively throughout Europe and South America: Feeling Good is released in the UK in September 2014.