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BIO

“Exploring her mixed heritage, the expat with a penchant for Wayne Shorter raises songs to the level of poetry.”
Sunday Times Magazine, Top Ten Jazz Record of the Year

“A remarkable journey to the interior of the human heart.”
— AllAboutJazz

“World class. Must see.”
— Los Angeles Times

At once unassumingly virtuosic and uncontrivedly emotional, New York Times critics pick and two-time Sunday Times magazine Top Ten Jazz CD of the Year choice (2013 and 2018), vocalist Tessa Souter is “a beguiling artist who infuses everything she interprets with voluptuous intelligence and keen emotional insight.” (KQED ARTS).  Ever since the release of her 2004 debut, Listen Love, she has cast an increasingly wide net, from 2008’s all-star Nights of Key Largo (Venus), to contributing original lyrics to instrumental jazz standards, and re-imagining classic British rock on 2009’s Obsession (Motéma). Her Third Stream project, Beyond the Blue (Venus-Motéma, 2013), featuring Steve Kuhn and spotlighting Souter’s own “exhilaratingly mature lyrics” (Chicago Examiner) to classical gems by Albinoni, Chopin et al, was a London Sunday Times Jazz Record of the Year. As was her latest album, Picture in Black and White, which was also the Number One Jazz Vocal CD of the Year for Ken Dryden (New York Jazz Record), W. Royal Stokes (NPR Downbeat Critics Poll) and WVCR FM’s Jay Hunter. She has performed all over the world, from New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center to the Blue Note (New York, Shanghai and Beijing), wowing audiences with her striking authenticity, charismatic stage presence and crackling humor. “Souter, with gorgeous, often breath-taking vocalizing and deeply moving song writing, ranks in the uppermost echelon of contemporary artists.” PopCultureClassics.

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She has graced the stages of SF Jazz, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Mezzrow, the Blue Note (New York, Shanghai and Beijing), Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Jazz Standard, Joe’s Pub, San Jose Jazz Festival, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, An Die Musik, Pizza Express, Ronnie Scott’s, the London and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, Star Eyes (Nagoya), and Body and Soul (Tokyo), Japan. And is a six-time festival favorite at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, where her 2017 appearance was singled out by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle from a 1,500-strong, star-studded roster of international jazz artists as “the one show not to miss” over the entire nine-day festival.

As well as her five albums as a leader, she also appears on legendary bassist Charnett Moffett‘s Spirit of Sound  album and French singer Pascalito’s upcoming The Picture of Rafael Ohayon, and has performed and/or recorded with many of the jazz world’s greats, including Steve Kuhn, Alan Broadbent, Kenny Werner, Yotam Silberstein, Dezron Douglas, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura, Joe Locke, David Gilmore, Marvin Sewell, Billy Drummond, Joel Frahm, Lew Soloff, Romero Lubambo, Larry Koonse, Dana Leong, Francois Moutin, Lynne Arriale  and Howard Johnson. “One of jazz’s most highly acclaimed vocalists. Ordinary listeners and critics alike have raved about her lovely voice, her tasteful phrasing, her agile technique, and perhaps most important, her ability to convey the emotional meaning of a song.” (David Franklin, Cadence) “Singers like her don’t come along every day.” (Neil Tesser, Chicago Examiner)

HI RES PICTURES 

Click on images to download hi res versions. First picture, please credit Billy Drummond. All the others Joseph Boggess

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LIVE VIDEO
Lonely Woman/Eleanor Rigby, Novosibirsk Philharmonic

 

‘Beyond the Blue’ (Chopin’s Prelude in E minor with Tessa’s lyrics), Blue Note, New York:
Caravan, Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. Excerpt from interview and full concert filmed by PBS. 
Dancing Girl/Where the Streets Have To Name, Sound check at Cafe Mumbo Jumbo, Kobe, Japan, w/Hristo Vitchev
TRACKS

CONTEMPLATION (ANCESTORS) – PICTURE IN BLACK AND WHITE (2018)