Review: Sutton, Turtle Island blend beautifully on the North Side
Tierney Sutton and the Turtle Island String Quartet spent their time Friday evening crossing barriers in the North Side.
Sutton moved her pure voice out of the vocal category and often made it another instrument of the quartet.
Meanwhile, Turtle Island moved from the New Age-folk-pop of its roots into being a true jazz group. Cellist Mark Summer acted at times as a drummer and at other times as a bassist. Sometimes he was both. Violist Benjamin von Gutzeit and violinist Mateusz Smoczynski offered great solos throughout the concert, and von Gutzheit acted as a rhythm guitarist on one section of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme."
Put together, the quartet and Sutton became a quintet that offered convincing and creative versions of jazz classics and pop hits with jazz roots at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. They were so true to the music when they did "Stolen Moments" as an encore, Sutton ended their rendition with the four-note call Freddie Hubbard sounds on his trumpet on the album where it appeared, "Blues and the Abstract Truth."
The show was called "Poets and Prayers" because it offered works that came to music from that direction. As such, the songs moved from the Coltrane classic to "Within You/Without You" by George Harrison. It also included four works by Joni Mitchell, including the loss-ridden "Little Green," which she wrote when she put a child up for adoption.
The quartet played with wonderful precision, but more importantly with a good sense of rhythm for all of those songs whether that pulse was from Coltrane or Bob Dylan, as in the opener, "All Along the Watchtower".
Sutton joined the quartet to do the "Psalm" section of "A Love Supreme," for which she transposed the saxophonist's poem into lyrics. On that song she established her spot in the back of the quartet's seating arrangement, between Summer and violinist David Balakrishnan. Such a spot made her part of the group rather than a vocalist with a group behind her.
She was such a member of the group, whether being a lead voice in the bebop-oriented "Bouncin' with Bud" or as another string voice in Balakrishnan's original,"Voice of the River." In whatever case, her voice was marvelously crisp, clean and full of a grip of song.
But song was the essence of the concert, and the five players presented all of them well.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Laurel Ballet student dancers entertain at Mad Hatter Tea in Unity
- Junior Princess from Marshall continues community work with pasta fundraiser
- Jazz musicians draw crowd at art gallery in Pittsburgh’s West End
- Flash!: Circle Sinners and Saints; Tribute to Veterans
- Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify women’s business center bestows Winners’ Circle Awards
- Arnold Palmer presents Spirit of Hope Award to archabbot at St. Vincent College event
- Craig Davis Consortium wows Westmoreland Jazz Society audience in Greensburg
- McCandless ‘Rock-a-thon Queen’ keeps on rockin’ for fundraiser
- Quantum Theatre celebrates 25 years with gala in Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- Greater Pittsburgh YWCA gives Women Leadership Awards to diverse group