"A must-see for lovers of world class jazz" [Los Angeles Times], "striking, soulful, enchanting" [Washington Post], "expressive, full of passion [Philadelphia Inquirer], "broadly imaginative", [New York Times], "compelling and utterly original" [Jazzwise], award-winning New York-based, Anglo Trinidadian singer, Tessa Souter, has been critically acclaimed as much for her expressive style as for her "truly beautiful voice, [which] really serves great lyrics, using the beauty of her voice to unearth and get to the core of great songs." [Sirrius Radio]
Born in London, the daughter of English and Trinidadian parents, her unique style infuses jazz with the soul and passion of flamenco, Middle Eastern and Brazilian music. And her new CD, Obsession -- a multicultural banquet that reflects her African, Indian, and English bloodlines, as well as her American present -- is her third in an international singing career that has taken her all over the world, playing to sold out houses from the Blue Note New York to Beirut to Moscow -- and beyond.
"The best thing is that Souter sounds different." [Philadelphia Inquirer]. "There's no one doing what Tessa does," enthused author and critic Will Friedwald. "One of the most imaginatively programmed vocal sets of recent memory" said the Los Angeles Times, in a rave review of her California debut in 2002. Her first CD, Listen Love, won critical raves for her "crystal clear voice and diamond cut phrasing" (Philadelphia Inquirer) and "direct, soulful sound" (Village Voice). Her sophomore CD, Nights of Key Largo, recorded on Japanese audiophile label, Venus, with all-stars Kenny Werner, Billy Drummond, Jay Leonhart, Joel Frahm, and Trio de Paz's Romero Lubambo, won Swing Journal's coveted Gold Disc award in the January 2009 issue, which said of her, "there are traces of Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae in her phrasing, and Julie London and Peggie Lee in her delicate breathing, which harbors a touch of sorrow."
But it's not
just the critics that love her. Soul jazz singer Jon Lucien said
of Listen Love. "Magnificent! I couldn't stop playing it
over and over. She blew me away!" Sheila Jordan says, "She's
at the top of my list of great talent. I love her voice. She
really moves me." Legendary tuba player Howard Johnson says she is "an important
musician ... whose brilliant lyrics and songs make her stand
out from the pack so very much, not to mention how well she
sings other people's material." Bill Evans' last
drummer, Joe La
Barbera, says of her, "Tessa is a unique voice in jazz."
Los Angeles based guitarist Larry Koonse says: "She is the
real thing in every way."
Souter is a riveting live performer, inspiring standing ovations from Minsk to Moscow to New York's Dizzy's Club Coca Cola. To quote a live review [of her sold out return to the Rochester International Jazz Festival 2009]: "To say that Souter enchanted the audience would be an understatement .... The capacity crowd seemed to be transfixed by Souter's gorgeous voice and wonderful personality." (Rochester City Paper). "Better still, she delivers it all with a wit and a wink worthy of the toniest joints in town." (Time Out New York)
Tessa [right] at her 2007 Blue Note debut