Tierney Sutton: Get Happy (version one)


Get Happy


Tierney Sutton (vocals)


On the Other Side (Telarc 83650)

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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

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