There have been a number of tributes to Bill Evans since the pianist's death in 1980, including a few by singers. But this CD by Tierney Sutton (only her third as a leader) is not only wide-ranging in its scope, as it draws songs from throughout his career, but the often innovative arrangements bring a freshness to the music. Sutton doesn't resort to loud theatrics but swings hard when necessary while focusing on the melody, and also gives her supporting trio (pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, and drummer Ray Brinker) space to play. Evans' songs include a haunting "Blue in Green" (a modal gem credited to Miles Davis but claimed by the pianist as his work) with a touching lyric by Meredith d'Ambrosio, the mournful "Turn Out the Stars," a magical deliberate take of "Very Early," and an enticing medley of two of Evans' ballads written in honor of two young ladies, "Waltz for Debby" (for his niece) and "Tiffany" (for drummer Joe LaBarbera's infant daughter, who later composed the lyrics to this song as a teenager; Joe takes over the drums on this one song). The brisk "Autumn Leaves" is given a dramatic facelift with some fine scatting by Sutton and a wonderful reworking of the chord structure, and the calypso-flavored introduction to "Someday My Prince Will Come" is a high point, too. Ken Wild takes over on bass for the enchanting piano-less arrangement of "Sometime Ago," playing an ostinato pattern and supplying a soft backing scat vocal on this catchy chart. This outstanding release by Tierney Sutton should be considered an essential acquisition by fans of jazz singers and music associated with or written by Bill Evans.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden