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Armand Hutton

Misty - Single (2016)


May 30, 2016

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Daniel G. Westbrook

Johnny Mathis' Misty is easily one of the most covered jazz standards across the last sixty years, with artists from Frank Sinatra to Clay Aiken taking a crack at it. So what does Armand Hutton bring to the table with his cover? A gorgeous, deep richness from the former Naturally 7 bass that this crooner vibe begs for, to start. The ease of vocal play is both classic to Mathis and unique to Hutton, easing you through what might come as a bit of a shock: the ever-present dissonance behind the chords. It's jazzy to be sure, but the grind is almost an afterthought, layered in perfectly behind the original chord structure. The piece gives the impression of instability at first; its genius lies in the way it constantly teeters on the edge of dissolving into atonality, but instead falls right into the next chord as if it was always meant to. The most excellent example comes on the composition surrounding the lyrics "on my own" 60% of the way in. As Hutton gently rolls through his vowel, his top tenors post together at a step apart, disallowing your ear to sink back into familiar territory, returning to the verse from the bridge. Genius. 

The only thing working against him is a slight disconnect in shaping; though his background is constantly leading you to the next element, his solo line doesn't have the same mastery of arc. Mind you, the ease of his execution is part of what makes the song great, but it nevers seems to climax the way the background voices do. 

Conclusion: stellar cover by a stellar voice. The mix of relaxation and stimulation will keep you listening to Misty on repeat.


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