6/3/2011 - Singer Tierney Sutton plays Asheville show for WNC Jazz Society
MUSIC of every kind here in the mountains! This weekend, Jazz...next weekend - anything goes!
ASHEVILLE -- When jazz lover Bo Farson and his wife, Idelle Packer, moved to Asheville from New York in 2000, they missed their jazz society, and in 2003, with support from arts organizations and Deal Motor Car, they founded the Western North Carolina Jazz Society.
The group's five-concert series presents nationally known jazz groups. The public is invited to join society members and friends as they welcome the Tierney Sutton Band to Diana Wortham Theatre this weekend.
"We've played together for 19 years and have just completed our ninth album together," said Sutton, vocalist for the band. "We do everything as a complicated unit, make all our decisions together. We are unusual in any kind of music because we've been together such a long time."
In 2009, the Los Angeles-based band received a third Grammy nomination (Best Vocal Jazz Album) for the CD "Desire" and with Sutton on vocals, Christian Jacob on piano, Kevin Axt on bass and Ray Brinker on drums.
Members of the group have played and recorded with music legends like Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Placido Domingo, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and more.
The band's music is complex but "user-friendly," and many of the songs are familiar.
"Our favorite compliment after a concert is when people say, 'I thought I didn't like jazz but I really liked that,'" said Tierney.
The band's newest CD, "The American Road," includes folk songs like "Amazing Grace," "Wayfaring Stranger" and "America the Beautiful."
"Jazz is, in our opinion, improvised American music," said Sutton. "We've recorded Patsy Cline's 'Crazy' on an album, we've recorded 'You Are My Sunshine' on another."
A voice instructor at the Los Angeles Music Academy, she sees young people improvising with the music, mixing it up with hip-hop and other contemporary music.
"New York is the center of jazz, but Los Angeles has some of the world's best jazz musicians," Sutton said.
The California-based artist has strong ties to this region. "My mother grew up in Durham, and I have spent a little time in North Carolina, and I am very happy to be coming."
"Jazz is the most underpresented art form," said Farson. "There is no high name recognition in jazz, many of the musicians are great and known to a small number of people, but they don't have much public recognition," Farson said.
The art form demands intense levels of technical ability and training.
"First thing you have to have for a jazz concert series is a great piano, great acoustics help. We've been at Diana Wortham Theatre for five years. John Ellis and his staff are terrific, and the piano is first-rate," said Farson.
The approximately 225-member jazz society helps keep ticket prices affordable. Upcoming shows include the Kate Davis Trio on July 23, and on Sept. 10, it's Greg Ruby and the Hot Club of Seattle.
IF YOU GO
Who: Tierney Sutton Band.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Diana Wortham Theatre, 2 S. Pack Square.
Tickets: $25 members, $35, $10 students younger than 25 with ID. 257-4530, www.dwtheatre.com, www.tierneysutton.com.