Susan Sutton

Element 44

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Susan Sutton's Element 44 differs considerably from the album immediately preceding it, Da Me Cinco (Give Me Five), in several noticeable respects. Although the agenda is again comprised of Sutton originals, the music is more varied, going beyond the Latin jazz mode that monopolized the previous album. Even the Latin material -- and there is some of that replicating a couple of pieces from her previous release -- has a more mellifluous feel to it. The music and playing also seem to be more mature and relaxed, as in the lilting "Gypsy Samba," leaving the listener with a greater sense of fulfillment. With these different rhythms, the playing flows more smoothly and is less jagged and staccato-driven. One addition that will broaden the appeal of this session is the appearance of David Scott on tenor and flute on three of the tracks. Both tenor and flute comes into play on a freewheeling, Brazilian beat "California Carnivál." Dubbing allows both to be playing at the same time, giving the group a bigger, fuller sound than might be expected from its numbers. His tenor takes on an Ernie Watts tone on the pretty "Cablegram." The bass continues to have a big part in Sutton's arranging scheme. On this album, there are four bassists (not all at the same time), with no drop-off in the quality of playing with any of them. Sutton has chosen not to sing on this CD, which is a bit of disappointment as her voice has a compelling storytelling quality about it. This is an absolutely attractive session and is recommended.

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