In 2016 Los Angeles-based vocalist Tierney Sutton and her eponymous band turned out a winning score for director Clint Eastwood’s film Scully. One of the tunes didn’t make the cut for the film but landed on the soundtrack; Sutton and co. reprise this uplifting song, “Arrow” on their latest release for BFM Jazz, Screenplay, a 15-song compilation culled from 80 years of Hollywood film-making.
The excellence of this album derives as much from The Sutton Band’s fresh arrangements as from the compositional élan of the album’s many beloved songs. Sutton herself arranged the Alan and Marilyn Bergman hit, “Windmills of your Mind”, from The Thomas Crown Affair, as an atmospheric modern jazz interlude; she and Alan trade heartbreak on their duet “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”, from Best Friends; and bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker offer up a moody, cool rendition of Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence” from The Graduate. Among the album’s more unexpected turns are contributions from the musical comedy Grease—a regret-filled “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and a Latin take-down of “You’re the One that I Want”—and the previously unrecorded “Ev’ry Now and Then”, a deliciously too-sad ballad co-written by the Bergmans and Dave Grusin for Mulholland Falls. Even outside a celluloid context these tunes still pack an emotional punch.
Prolific singer/composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb dropped two discrete albums last month. On the first, Pneuma: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Songlines), Gottlieb sets her smooth, expressive alto in service to a suite of songs that take the wind as their theme; three clarinets provide the comping, from free improv through electronica to klezmer and on to more familiar jazz idioms. The recording is feeling and changeable—like the element it conjures up.
On the second, I Carry Your Heart: A Tribute to Arnie Lawrence (Ride Symbol Records), in dedication to Gottlieb’s early mentor, Arnie Lawrence’s son Erik—a gifted saxophonist and flutist in his own right—joins Gottlieb for a second poetry-and-improvisation recording. The duo, abetted by pianist Anat Fort and Gottlieb’s three children, re-created the studio setting for Arnie Lawrence’s improvised composition, “Inside An Hourglass,” which Herbie Mann’s label Embryo released in 1969. Almost 50 years ago the younger Lawrence, then a child, raced about the studio playing instruments lying about during the famous session, adding youthful playfulness to the recording. This time Gottlieb’s children take on that role. Life imitating life.
Millennial powerhouse Grace Kelly, singer/saxophonist, has launched the second album in her GO TiME series, this time a Los Angeles-centered release. GO TiME: Live in LA serves as an enticing follow-up to last year’s video album GO TiME: Brooklyn, both on the PAZZ label. On tunes as disparate as Billy Austin/Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t (My Baby)”, Lennon/McCartney’s “Come Together”, and Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love”, Kelly demonstrates both keen technique and unflagging style. She performs on Jun 5 at the JED Foundation’s annual gala and then on Jun 25 as a guest artist at the Django Reinhardt Festival at Birdland.
(Reprinted from the June 2019 issue of The New York City Jazz Record)