Susan Sutton

California Carnival

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California pianist/vocalist Susan Sutton's third release goes in a different direction than her first two. While she returns to a play list of all her originals, as on her initial release, they now have a decidedly Latin coloring to them, starting right from the album's kickoff tune, "California Carnival," and persisting with such tunes as "Love Bird" and "Aireation." The usual trio format has been discarded for a quintet with the addition of David Scott on tenor sax and flute and Larry Baskett on trumpet and flugelhorn. Scott makes his presence felt right from the start with flute and sax solos on the first track. This cut also restates Sutton's predilection for adding a vibes resonance through her keyboards. Sutton continues her pleasant vocalizing on some cuts, although not nearly as many as on her second release, For Music Lovers...Songs for the Heart and Soul. "One Reason to Be" is a pleasant medium-tempo ballad which Sutton enriches with her deep, rich, and mature, unadorned way with a song. Baskett sustains the relaxed mood with a horn solo while Sutton takes some time to show off her melodic pianism before another vocal chorus. This track is one of the most attractive on the album. The practice of reprising tunes from previous releases is also maintained. This time it's "November With Mother Hubbard" from the Susan Sutton Trio album. With each passing release, Sutton's compositions become more structurally and harmonically sophisticated and adventurous. "Into Your Eyes' features strong interplay between Scott and Baskett, with the rhythm section laying down more than simply keeping the support underneath the two major soloists. "Rare Bear" is peppered with Monk-ish figures. With every outing, Sutton grows in stature as a composer and performer. Recommended.

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