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“Billie & Dolly” is Reviewed by Harriet Goldsmith of “All Vocals”

What do Billie Holiday and Dolly Parton have to do with each other? Well, in short, it is the brainchild concept of debut vocalist Jacqui Sutton, and she brands her unique sound as Frontier Jazz and calls herself a Jazzgrass Chic. Jazz and bluegrass melding is not a new concept completely, it has been performed instrumentally by Béla Fleck, but what Sutton offers is the next step, a vocal reading that you can hear the joy in her voice coming through each cut.

Sutton employed composer Henry Darragh to assist

her with putting her ideas down on paper. The two have cooked up a jambalaya of tasty sounds and textures. Even though the CD is named Billie&

Dolly the two namesakes only bookend the release, Billie’s “God Bless the Child” is cut #1 and Parton’s “Endless Stream of Tears” closes out the journey. In between the bookends are songs from the American Songbook, from the world of musical theater, and a science song written for children.

“Black Hole” comes from a collection of songs about the science of astronomy by contemporary composer David Haines, Sutton gives it a swampy feel supported by horn lines and the swank of banjo.

“Risk” from bluegrass man F.M. Turner a cut featured on his album Igniter is re‐treated by Sutton at a slower pace with elements of R&B grooves splashed across the canvas to create a new work of art. The songs from composer Danny Ashkenasi are included in this embodiment of work,” Keeper of Your Love”, ” Sweep Me Off My Feet” and from the play, beTwixt, beTween & beTWAIN “Mississippi Song” is included from the Ashkenasi catalog and given a swampy torch song feel, with the twang of the banjo. Sutton soars vocally as sounds of plucking and high register delights fill this delicate cut, joined by the cello and hints of horns dancing in the background, the listener is transported to the banks of folklore.

More than just a CD, Billie & Dolly is like listening to a play, with each cut having its own story. I could easily see the theme set to a play, almost a story of America.

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Metro Spirit: CD Reviews – Jacqui Sutton – “Billie & Dolly”

Turning 50 and starting a garage band is not the usual vocalist’s narrative. But that’s what vocalist Jacqui Sutton did and she called it the Frontier Jazz Orchestra.

What is Frontier Jazz?

It is the branding name that Houston based Jazzgrass Chic Jacqui Sutton felt would best described her brand of jazz. The concept in nature has been approached by jazz crossover artist Béla Fleck, but only instrumentally. The idea is to take one part bluegrass ,add one part jazz, bookend the idea with iconic songs at the beginning and end Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” and Dolly Parton’s “Endless Stream of Tears,” bring in arranger Henry Darragh, brew for 9 months and voila, you have Sutton’s latest release Billie & Dolly.

Listeners can expect the traditional sounds of bluegrass and the sophistication of jazz. Banjo is used lavishly throughout the recording, sometimes the cello stands in for fiddle. You will hear guitar and accordion—folk instruments that bring you to the banks of the Mississippi and onto a bed of St. Augustine grass—the sound of the American frontier. Add the flute, flugelhorn and piano, and you’ll hear echoes of the open prairie and the sultry sounds of a 30’s lounge with hipsters filling the seats for night of eclectic adventures.

There are songs from the American Songbook, from the world of musical theater, and a science song written for children. Throw in some funky grooves and spicy Zydeco, and Billie & Dolly becomes even harder to pigeonhole, which is what makes this recording even more special. Frontier Jazz, Jazzgrass, well; whatever your title, it is definitely not your run of the mill CD. Sutton and her band (orchestra) of explorers have certainly discovered new territory. Divisionism, Pointillist or neo-impressionistic might be some of the terms used if this was an art presentation. My term, simply; highly recommended.

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eJazz News CD Reviews: Jacqui Sutton – “Billie & Dolly”

Turning 50 and starting a garage band is not the usual v ocalist’s narrativ e. But that’s what vocalist Jacqui Sutton did and she called it the Frontier Jazz Orchestra.

What is Frontier Jazz?

It is the branding name that Houston based Jazzgrass Chic Jacqui Sutton felt would best described her brand of jazz. The concept in nature has been approachedby jazzcrossover artist Béla Fleck, but only instrumentally. The idea is to take one part bluegrass ,add one part jazz, bookend the idea with iconic songs at the beginning and end Billie Holiday ’s “God Bless the Child” and Dolly Parton’s “Endless Stream of Tears,” bring in arranger Henry Darragh, brew for 9 months and voila, you have Sutton’s latest release Billie & Dolly .

Listeners can expect the traditional sounds of bluegrass and the sophistication of jazz. Banjo is used lav ishly throughout the recording, sometimes the cello stands in for fiddle. You will hear guitar and accordion—folk instruments that bring y ou to the banks of the Mississippi and onto a bed of St. Augustine grass—the sound of the American frontier. Add the flute, flugelhorn and piano, and y ou’ll hear echoes of the open prairie and the sultry sounds of a 30’s lounge with hipsters filling the seats for night of eclectic adv entures.

There are songs from the American Songbook, from the world of musical theater, and a science song written for children. Throw in some funky groovesandspicy Zydeco,andBillie&Dolly becomesevenharderto pigeonhole, which is what makes this recording even more special. Frontier Jazz, Jazzgrass, well; whatev er y our title, it is definitely not your run of the mill CD. Sutton and her band (orchestra) of explorers have certainly discovered new territory. Divisionism, Pointillist or neo- impressionistic might be some of the terms used if this was an art presentation. My term, simply; highly recommended.

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