Vocalist Sutton ’86 Makes Mark on Jazz Scene

Tierney Sutton '86 (Photo by Pamela Springsteen).

Tierney Sutton '86 (Photo by Pamela Springsteen).

Owen McNally in the Hartford Courant recently profiled jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton ’86, who performed in West Hartford in January for a benefit concert. In the article, McNally describes Sutton as “one of the hottest, hippest singers on today’s jazz scene.” He adds that she is “a bold, inventive improviser with true grit, has an expressive range that can leap from up tempo fervor to lyrical warmth. She makes evergreens sound greener, flag-wavers leaner and blues meaner.”

McNally reveals that Sutton came to Wesleyan to master Russian and Russian literature but when she arrived on campus, she discovered the power and glory of jazz, impressed by concerts that showcased the talents of jazz greats such as Betty Carter and Jimmy Heath. Sutton soon developed a deep appreciation for the work of Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. She was encouraged in her singing career by jazz saxophonist/composer Bill Barron who was the head of Wesleyan’s music department when she was a student.

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu