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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 20, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 38
Ann Hampton Callaway and Tierney Sutton 'In Technicolor' at Jazz Alley Sept. 26-29
Arts & Entertainment
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Ann Hampton Callaway and Tierney Sutton 'In Technicolor' at Jazz Alley Sept. 26-29

by MK Scott - SGN Contributing Writer

Broadway star, cabaret singer, Ann Hampton Callaway returns to Seattle's Jazz Alley (2033 6th Avenue, in downtown Seattle) with Tierney Sutton and her band from Thursday, September 26, through Sunday, September 29 for four incredible evenings of unforgettable film songs. Callaway's focus will be mostly on the iconic gems from the 30's and 40's while Sutton lends her imagination to beloved contemporary classics. Accompanied by the Tierney Sutton Band rhythm section, the night will be filled with solos and duets arranged in fresh ways, featuring the two singer's dazzling musicality and connection to the brilliant lyrics of their songs. The evening will also feature songs from movies they have sung in: Tierney, from Clint Eastwood's recent movie Sully and Ann from Robert DeNiro's The Good Shepherd and Queen Latifah's Last Holiday. From Gershwin, Porter and Mercer to Mancini, The Bergmans and Sondheim, get ready for an evening of sensational cinematic delights!

I chatted with Callaway by email:

MK Scott: What do you like most about Seattle?

Ann Hampton Callaway: I love the people there. Smart, warm, arts loving people who tend to live life thoughtfully. Great restaurants, theater, music, art- speaks to my senses. It's a gorgeous city, too. I love walking around and discovering new places. This time I will be spending a few days before on Bainbridge Island - such a tranquil lovely place. I think the Pacific Northwest is very inspiring. Plus great coffee at every turn!

MK: Tell us about your show with Tierney Sutton, 'In Technicolor.' Is that what they are calling it?

AHC: We call it 'In Technicolor.' We just premiered it in San Francisco and the audience went wild! Tierney and I have known each other for years and loved each other's talents so when we were both coming out with CDs focusing on music from movies, I asked her if we could put a show together - so glad she said yes. My CD 'Jazz Goes to the Movies' focuses on mostly songs from the 30's and 40's when songwriters were creating masterpieces that would become The Great American Songbook. Like the time we are living in, it was a time of strife and these songs uplifted people through the depression and war and can uplift us today. Tierney's gorgeous CD 'Screenplay' focuses more on contemporary film music and her arrangements are simply brilliant - she and her band breathe new life into their songs as I tried to do with mine. So it's a beautiful night of solos and duets as well as witty and playful banter. We have different approaches to singing that seem to compliment each other very well and people seem to enjoy the love we all share on the bandstand - I've had the pleasure of working with her musicians for years and, like Tierney, they are phenomenal onstage and off.

MK: I have been a fan ever since the Broadway musical, Swing. I had the soundtrack and loved everything about the show. What was your experience like?

AHC: Thanks! It was a dream come true. The producers were looking for an 'Ann Hampton Callaway type' for 6 months and finally they thought, maybe we should actually approach Ann Hampton Callaway! I had wanted to be on Broadway since I was a child and saw Company and when I quit college and moved to NY, I had hoped to eventually land a Broadway role. I didn't realize it would take 21 years to become an overnight sensation! Not only did I get to star in the show with a superb cast, I got to choose my songs, co-arrange them, write specialty material for the show and create a role that would feature many of my gifts and particular passions for the music. It was a joy to see how audiences were swept away by the irresistible dancing and soaring songs of the swing era-they would often sing and dance out of the theater!

MK: You have even composed and worked with some of the greats like Barbra, Patti Lupone, Liza and my good pal, Michael Feinstein. What memory stands out for you working with those legends?

AHC: I love great talent and when I've gotten to hear these artists sing my songs or perform with them or for them, it's a high like nothing else. Every time I hear Barbra sing one of my songs that are featured on 7 of her CDs it's a pinch me moment. Patti was the first to sing 'At the Same Time' for an AIDS TV special and I was so moved by her passion for the song and the cause. Liza has been one of my most important friends and mentors in the business. We met in 1991 and her encouragement and example inspire me to this day. Michael and I have performed numerous times together and written together and I hope one day we record something together. He is such a great champion of the music I love and he astounds me with his energy for all the musical avenues he pursues - there's nothing he can't do!

MK: Last week was the 18th anniversary of 9/11 and you composed two songs that marked that period: 'I Believe in America' and 'Let Us Be United.' How will you remember that time?

AHC: My life and all our lives are forever changed by that time of unspeakable violence and loss. But our lives are also changed by all the beautiful acts of kindness and courage as we did our best to unite and stay strong in the presence of a new kind of threat. We have to live with this threat every day. I am a spiritual person and am always trying to be a vessel of love and hope for these challenging times. Music is an incredibly healing thing and it heals both the listener and the creator.

MK: What is next for you?

AHC: I am touring all over the place [check out www.annhamptoncallaway.com.] I'm also in the beginning stages of two recording projects - a record of early Broadway masterpieces with my friend and producer Lisa Schiff and a double CD of original songs with my friend and producer Marty Ashby. Not sure how the time table will unfold but I'm enjoying writing songs with and for brilliant friends and choosing Broadway classics to put my spin on.

MK: What makes 'Swing' music still so timeless?

AHC: There is, at the heart of the music, a sense of joy and freedom that to me is our essential nature. It puts a smile in people's hearts and is impossible not to move to. Like the human heartbeat, it creates a rhythm that is so compelling that you forget your troubles and get drawn into the playful world of sound and story. What's not to love?

Be sure to catch Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Calloway 'In Technicolor' at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley (2033 6th Avenue, in downtown Seattle) Thursday, September 26 to Sunday, September 29. For more information and tickets, call 206-441-9729 or visit www.jazzalley.com. Show times are Thursday 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday 7:30pm & 9:30pm, and Sunday 7:30pm.

MK Scott is a Seattle-based arts blogger and publisher of uniteseattlemag.com

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Ann Hampton Callaway and Tierney Sutton 'In Technicolor' at Jazz Alley Sept. 26-29
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