Album cover for Resolution: A Remembrance of John Coltrane by Suzanne Pittson. Featuring Jeff Pittson, Alex Murzyn, Glenn Richman, Wally Schnalle. Vineland Records, 1999.

1. Liberia (John Coltrane, lyrics by Jeff Pittson)
2. My One and Only Love (R. Mellin/G. Wood)
3. Prelude to Resolution (Jeff Pittson)
4. Resolution (John Coltrane/lyrics by Jeff & Suzanne Pittson)
5. Introduction to Pursuance (Wally Schnalle)
6. Pursuance  (John Coltrane/lyrics by Jeff & Suzanne Pittson)
7. Remembrance (poetry by Jeff Pittson/melody spontaneously composed by Suzanne Pittson)
8. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Buddy Bernier/Jerry Brainin)
9. I Wish I Knew (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon)
10. African Skies (Michael Brecker/lyrics by Jeff Pittson)
11. You Don’t Know What Love Is (Don Raye/Gene DePaul)

Suzanne Pittson: voice
Alex Murzyn: tenor saxophone
Jeff Pittson: piano
Glenn Richman: bass
Wally Schnalle: drums

Produced by Suzanne Pittson
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA, March 11-23, 1999
Mixed by Steve Fontano
Mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA
Photography by James Viers


William Collins

If you consider yourself a jazz aficionado and only have so much room in your library for the good stuff, throw something out to make room for this CD and buy it.  No need to read on.

I could stop there, of course, but reviews are supposed to give you an idea of what to expect before you plunk down your hard cash. So…

You have to love what you’re doing, you have to have dedication, and you have to have passion to undertake to translate someone else’s mark on the world to your own signature. Suzanne Pittson has the love, the dedication, the passion, and the expertise to do just that—to translate Coltrane to voice. Her scat singing alone is so good that had she been the forerunner and not Ella Fitzgerald, Suzanne would have become The Ella.  What’s more, she demonstrates a higher level of precision than Ella, even though the imprecision made Ella, Ella. The future is obligated to improve on the past, is it not?

The voice training is evident everywhere, even in the smallest, subtlest couplets. Expanded runs and embellishments only emphasize her mastery, never exceeding her range or capability. She and all the musicians constantly stretch, but never go beyond. Very, very solid. What she does, comes off as easy to the listener simply because she is so within and on top of her skills. I suspect that this skill pushed the combo to higher than anticipated levels. From the added lyric by husband Jeff Pittson (and Suzanne), to the screaming jams with across the board great solos, fills, drives, shadow-licks, and comps, and then to beauty at slow tempos, the group is superior. In brief:

  • Liberia — Ballad start gives way to up-tempo, pure jazz and great scat. In every one of the pieces on this CD, the combo is outstanding. Consider it said in each of the following.
  • My One and Only Love — Lilting and moving.
  • Prelude to Resolution — Jeff Pittson demonstrates his depth with this brief transition.
  • Resolution — My pick for Best of CD.
  • Introduction to Pursuance — Rare drum solo in that it’s musical.
  • Pursuance — Even at presto, the words and scat are discernable. It moves.
  • Remembrance — Note “melody spontaneously composed by Suzanne Pittson.” A suspension of lines over instrumental soundings.
  • The Night Has a Thousand Eyes — Imitation horn improvisation is good but not up to the quality of the open scat elsewhere.
  • I Wish I Knew — Bright tempo. Love song done casually. Very appealing.
  • African Skies — Excellent mating of sax and vocals. More superb scatting.
  • You Don’t Know What Love Is — A good (and difficult) jazz reading that moves into a lovely slow ballad.

On the technical side, the CD seems to have been recorded at a relatively high program level. If you play it back to back with commercially produced CDs, you might find yourself adjusting the volume. However, this is a great CD. I say again, make room.