Tierney Sutton: Get Happy (version one)
Tierney Sutton (vocals)
On the Other Side (Telarc 83650)
Tierney Sutton (vocals),
Christian Jacob (piano), Kevin Act (bass), Trey Henry (bass), Ray Brinker (drums).
Composed by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.
Recorded: Hollywood, April 28-30, 2006
Rating: 77/100 (learn more)
Tracks like this are perhaps a sign that postmodern jazz has run its course. When we start interpreting lyrics to evoke the exact opposite of their meaning . . . hmmm, this is where the shallowness that underlies many of the postmodern musical games goes just a bit too far. Yes, let's take Harold Arlen's bright, optimistic "Get Happy" and perform it as if it were a lugubrious dirge. What's next? "Lush Life" as a polka? "Take Five" in 3/4? When cleverness becomes an end in itself, almost anything is possible.
I sense that Sutton has been listening to Patricia Barber, who also takes great chances with her songs. But where Barber aims for a pleasing ambiguity, this track is heavy-handed and obvious; as is, for that matter, the idea of recording 13 songs about happiness, many of them quite melancholy. If this performance were a person, I would send it to a shrink. But barring that, my advice is to leave it shrink-wrapped.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia