By Tulis McCall
Tierney Sutton is exquisite. Part story-teller, part musician, a seamstress weaving tiny invisible magic threads that surround you without your noticing. Her approach is gentle, but her aim is true. Along with Mitch Forman on piano and Trey Henry on bass she is gifting the Café Carlyle with an evening that will surely make spring happen just that much quicker.
The evening in question is a tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman – both of whom were in attendance. The stories are plentiful – the Bergmans met in L.A. back in the 50’s where they were both writing lyrics for the composer Lew Spence- he in the morning and she in the afternoon. Eventually the schedules intertwined and the rest is history. They have been the world’s most happily married couple for 61 years. Sutton skims the multitude of songs the Bergmans ushered into the world. The Windmills of Your Mind (with Michel LeGrand) Nice and Easy (Spence), The Way We Were (Marvin Hamlisch) That Face (Spence – and it was Alan’s proposal to Marilyn). A Love Like Ours (Grusin – and this one they wrote for each other). Others are not so recognizable but Sutton lifts them up into the light and lets us in on their secrets.
In Sutton’s hands these are all stories. The songs that are familiar are heard as if for the first time. The relationship between Sutton and the Bergmans is delicious. She was their go-to person when they needed to hear or record one of their songs. Collaborations resulted with Cy Colman, Antonio Carolos Jobim, John Williams, Pat Metheny – and on and on. She is the perfect conduit for their work today. Through her artistry she makes you listen to the stories while she beguiles you with the melody. And she makes it look easy.
Personally I would have enjoyed a few more up tunes, heavy on the “up”. But that is not Sutton’s style, and from the sound of it the Bergman writing team is on the mellow side as well. Not flashy, always intimate, often introspective, and soaked in love.
I am often not a lyrics person. I muse on the melody and catch a few phrases, but I forget to listen to the poetry. My bad. This show had me heading to ITunes where I am busy downloading Sutton and some of the other people who first gifted us with Bergman lyrics – Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Fred Astaire. And I am downloading the lyrics as well – because it is poetry that I have been overlooking. Tierney Sutton changed that.
Grateful is what I am. Do get over there before she leaves. The kitchen is open again. And the full wait staff has returned – hooray! Sadly the food is not yet as good as the staff or entertainment – but we are patient, we New Yorkers, are we not?
Through March 23. Performances will take place Tuesday – Saturday at 8:45 pm. Weekday pricing begins at $85 per person / Bar Seating: $65 / Premium Seating: $135 . Weekend pricing begins at $100 per person / Bar Seating: $80 / Premium Seating: $15 0 . Reservations can be made online via Ticketweb. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue)