Jazz Times Reviews Notes From the Frontier

Christopher Loudon | Jazz Times

Her career has taken her from Madison to San Francisco to Portland to Manhattan, but it wasn’t until Jacqui Sutton arrived in Texas that she found just the right setting for the boldly unpredictable meld she calls “frontier jazz.” The Houston-based Sutton has been singing her entire adult life but didn’t cut her first album until two years ago, at age 50, paying homage to wildly disparate trailblazers Billie Holiday and Dolly Parton.

Widening her celebration of American musical spirit, and again teaming with the Texas musicians she’s dubbed the Frontier Jazz Orchestra, Sutton opens with a “Summertime” that serves as splendid introduction to the steel of her pipes and the majesty of a voice that marries the earthiness of Cassandra Wilson to the warmth of Dianne Reeves. Jazz, bluegrass and honkytonk slip and slide together in Sutton’s crafty blend of “Hummingbird” and Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” while “Nature Boy” is reinvented as a fiery tango sung in English and Spanish. She unearths a pair of markedly different patriotic pieces from classical composer Lee Hoiby—the uplifting “Lady of the Harbor” and, revitalized as a bolero, the anthemic “Where the Music Comes From”—and dusts the twangy “Blue Mountain” with gentle jazz harmonies.

But Sutton also appreciates when dramatic re-imaginings are neither appropriate nor required: She keeps the tender lullaby “Jenny Rebecca” true to its delicate folk roots, and exercises her considerable acting skills across the vintage pop-culture collage of “Better Than Anything.”

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Upcoming Gig at The Back Room in Berkeley, CA | January 20, 2017

We’re excited to be at The Back Room on January 20th!

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Here’s a little about The Back Room story:

Local musician Sam Rudin recently opened a new music venue in downtown Berkeley, The Back Room, which honors his vision to recreate the cozy ambience of the original Freight & Salvage.

Every East Bay music lover of a certain age knows that the beloved 420 seat concert hall started out as a tiny 87 seat room, stuffed with thrift-store couches and great acoustic music. The Freight’s overwhelming success and resulting expansion have been celebrated by all, but there are some who miss the living room intimacy that allowed lesser known musicians to make their mark, and better known players to get up close and personal with their fans.

Rudin, known for his rip-roaring solo piano wizardry, as well as his band of jazz and blues veterans (Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots), describes his new venture as a small space (100 people max), with great acoustics and comfortable seating, that showcases the musicians with respect and appreciation.

The Back Room welcomes all acoustically-based genres, including jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and more, and is an all-ages venue.

  • The Back Room is not a place for food. Oh, we might have popcorn available, and a few packaged snacks, but nothing that needs to be heated, sliced, or served.
  • The Back Room is not a place for drinks. Of course we have water, and punch, and soft drinks – we don’t want anyone to go thirsty. And adults are welcome to bring their own adult beverages — we’ll even supply the glasses. But we can’t sell any alcohol, and we don’t really want to.
  • The Back Room is a place with comfortable, upholstered furniture that may remind you of your own living room. (Assuming, of course, that your living room is filled with a few dozen thrift store mismatches.) Seating, as it happens, is very important to us, because we want the folks here to be completely relaxed, and happy, and ready to listen.
  • The Back Room is, as the logo says, an intimate place for music.

Now, we like loud, sweaty rock as much as anyone. But we are a small place designed for a smaller sound. We offer a wonderful ambience with brick walls, a high vaulted wooden ceiling, and a Steinway grand piano on stage.

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Frontier Jazz | Red Poppy | March 11th

Hello Friends and Those Who Otherwise Put Up With My Music Musings!

You’ve heard at some point over the past month or so about the Frontier Jazz String Trio’s San Francisco debut at the Red Poppy Art House in the Mission. (The formation will be “Orchestra” minus the “orch”—so this will be stripped down to banjo/guitar, cello and bass). I have been working hard to expand our geographic reach and the Red Poppy has given us a wonderful opportunity.

The day is quickly upon us—March 11th, a week from this Friday. I would be grateful for your support, whether that be in the form of coming out to see us if you’re local, or barring that, if you guilt tell your Bay Area friends to come and check us out.

We have a nice event notice from the venue here:


And to convince friends, send them to my SoundCloud account to hear all of our recorded songs, including the original “Grass Dolls”, which we will debut at the concert.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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Jacqui Sutton in Houston on 03/28/15

Lyons Avenue Renaissance Festival – Houston, TX

Date: March 28, 2015 Time: 1:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 3700 Lyons Avenue Houston, TX

Come and See Jacqui and the Frontier Jazz Orchestra and The Lyon Avenue Renaissance Festival.  Arts, Crafts, Food and Fun and Music will be the order of the day and you can bet that the band will be in full swing.  Come and Enjoy the great weather that Houston will have in store.

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Jacqui Sutton in New Orleans on 09/19/14

The Snug Jazz Bistro on Frenchman Street is where it’s going down.  Get there early for a seat as you’ll want to watch this show as much as listen.  Come out and see Jacqui sing in the Big Easy!

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Jacqui Sutton in Houston on 09/18/14

Jacqui is back at the Mucky Duck in September!  Come and and show your love of music and great musicians.  What a great way to start off the weekend!  Show starts at 7:30pm!

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