Tierney Sutton: Cry Me a River

I have been skeptical about Tierney Sutton in the past, accusing her of twisting her interpretations of standards so much that they no longer match the temperament of the lyrics. But she has made me a believer with her 2009 CD Desire. Here she tackles 11 songs of longing, and though she still deconstructs the tunes, she does so in ways that deepen, rather than falsify, their meaning. Her arrangement on "Cry Me a River" (as throughout the CD) is inspired. Sutton builds off a creative conflict between a fast 6/8 pulse (usually signaled by the bass, but sometimes moving to piano or drums) and a more open and uncluttered duple beat. Sutton's vocal floats over these rhythmic shifts, drawing energy from them yet keeping free from their gravitational pull. To her credit—to the whole band's credit—the song's mood is maintained throughout, and the clever arrangement never calls attention to itself, but rather supports an emotionally charged performance.

February 24, 2009 · 1 comment


Marilyn Scott: Cry Me A River

In this fine Japanese import from Venus, the relaxed vocal stylizing of Marilyn Scott is in fine form backed by especially empathetic musicians. The challenge for any vocalist is to be able to put her own stamp on a standard that is so identified with a particular artist that a remake usually doesn't cut it. I find myself having little tolerance for feeble attempts by otherwise earnest vocalists, but with Scott I am pleasantly surprised. On "Cry Me a River," which to me is inseparable from the sultry Julie London, Scott makes the song her own with phrasing and intonation that sound distinctively less vulnerable than London's. Bollenback's superlative guitar accompaniment is right on target, Chestnut's piano is equally sympathetic, and the throaty, reedy sound of Peplowski is a welcome delight that adds a whole new cool Getzian sound to this tune. His minimalist approach is tantalizingly provocative. Backed by such complementary musicianship, Scott's vocal is all the more convincing. Marilyn Scott deserves to be heard.

May 14, 2008 · 0 comments


Julie London: Cry Me a River

After costarring at 18 in a jungle movie with Olympic swimmer Buster Crabbe, Julie London transitioned from fetching ingénue to sultry chanteuse. Her 1955 single "Cry Me a River" (water again) swirled 15 weeks among the Top 50, swept her debut LP into the Top 10, splashed her back onscreen in The Girl Can't Help It, and landed her on Life's cover. Blessed with Barney Kessel's hush-hush backing and a lyric deft enough to use "plebian" unpretentiously, Julie rekindles the intimacy and irony of those smoky, dimly lit, off-the-beaten-track little bars where 1950s jazz sulked too long over a watery drink.

October 31, 2007 · 0 comments


Previous Page | Next Page