“Jazz is, more than anything else, music of the moment,” Tierney Sutton said. “Anything we do is creating a moment for the audience that is pure and sincere as it can be.” The band has been together for nearly 20 years.

Keeping a band together isn’t always easy in today’s music industry, but the Tierney Sutton Band has managed to do that for nearly 20 years.

Sutton points to the band’s democratic business model as the pathway to their success. From booking gigs to choosing an agent, being in the Tierney Sutton Band is “entirely democratic,” Sutton said.

Even the bands’ responsibilities are equally doled out. For instance, bassist Trey Henry might be directing the band’s website production while Sutton sets up media interviews.

“We’re actually incorporated and partners. We absolutely do everything collaboratively. It’s a different kind of model that’s evolved organically,” said Sutton, pointing to how their music relationship similarly evolved.

Considering the band has earned three consecutive Grammy nods, that model seems to be working.

The band’s success has been steady over the years. They’ve earned many awards, including the JazzWeek Award for Vocalist of the Year and consecutive nominations for Jazz Journalist Association awards, and have recorded CDs that have gone to No. 1 on jazz radio.

“It’s really interesting. I think we’ve been lucky enough to have enough success to be working a lot, but not so much success that it becomes a burden,” Sutton said. “I don’t think (most bands) have the level of equality in the relationship …. When audiences see the band perform, it’s really obvious it’s not the Tierney Sutton show.”

The band, instead, comes together with the material to create something new.

“I think of jazz as being an innovative art form,” Sutton said. “Your job is creating something that hasn’t been created before. So you take the mastery and the wisdom and the great players and composers, and then you take it to a new place with your own individuality.”

But the movement in the last 20 years that tried to establish jazz as “America’s classic music” really hurt the individuality that makes jazz special, she said.

“I think that’s a little dangerous,” Sutton said, pointing to how some jazz musicians have dismissed pop music. “I think some people got so intimated and upset that pop music was more popular than jazz that they took jazz out of pop music, and that’s unfortunate.”

Jazz is a mentality, she continued.

“Jazz is, more than anything else, music of the moment,” she said. “Anything we do is creating a moment for the audience that is pure and sincere as it can be.”