Susan Sutton

For Music Lovers...Songs for the Heart and Soul

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Following up quickly after her first release in 1988, Susan Sutton returns with a second album with important differences from her first. The play list is no longer limited to compositions by Sutton. They are in the minority, with standards getting the main play. While Sutton sang on only two tracks on her initial album, she sings on most tracks here, an excellent addition. Sutton goes about vocalizing in a straightforward, no-nonsense, unembellished manner, recognizing that the song's message is in the lyrics, not in any vocal gymnastics. Another beneficial modification is the presence of Larry Baskett guesting on trumpet and flugelhorn. He makes his presence felt immediately with significant solo successes on the opening two cuts, "Better Than Anything" and "Body and Soul." Because there are ballads on the program, the overall demeanor of the album is less exuberant than the first outing. But that doesn't mean that the album lacks excitement. Listen to the group swing on "Nothing Like You" and oscillate with a Latin beat to "Sirocco." It's just that there is now greater balance between swinging upbeat and slower tempos. Sutton accompanies herself on piano and continues to make discriminating use of the keyboards to create instrumentation that enhances rather than overwhelms the music. Another factor that makes this work is the stability created by Lloyd Wick on drums and Michael Lufkin and Eddie Dunn, who share bass, returning members of the basic trio. When it comes to small-group jazz, familiarity breeds success rather than contempt, or it should and it does with this group. This album is available only on cassette from Sutton.

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