In this context, Tierney Sutton's achievement here is all the more impressive. "It's Only a Paper Moon," a hit for Paul Whiteman back in 1933, is hard to modernize, with its nursery rhyme melody anchored by chord tones, its old-fashioned two-beat feel and Prohibition-era harmonic movement. Sutton doesn't just update it, she completely re-creates the song from the ground up, with admirable help from her band, yet she maintains absolute fidelity to the emotional temperature of the lyrics. The arrangement is smartly crafted—you know something special is happening from the outset, with the interplay between the crickets-in-the-meadow drum part and the floating piano lines. But Sutton is the star, and impresses with her spot-on intonation and honeyed delivery. She takes the performance through several distinct moods, each one well conceived and artfully executed.
This is a standout track on a CD that will certainly rank among 2009's finest jazz vocal releases. No cardboard seas here; this is the real thing.
February 24, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: it's only a paper moon
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