“World class. Must see.” Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times 

Rochester International Jazz Festival organizers Marc Iacona and John Nugent appear to have a tried and true method for assuring a perennially solid basis to the artist lineup: pencil Tessa Souter in early. She first appeared in 2007 and has been back more often than not since then. In that time, she’s amassed more complimentary adjectives than any other singer in the festival.” Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 

“Utterly compelling. Stunningly original.” Peter Quinn, JazzTimes 

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 (2013 and 2018), New York-based Anglo-Caribbean vocalist Tessa Souter /ˈsuːtər/ is “a beguiling artist who infuses everything she interprets with voluptuous intelligence and keen emotional insight.” (KQED ARTS). Mentored by jazz legends Mark Murphy, who called her “a true musician and extraordinary talent, remarkable and very moving,” and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, who puts her “at the top of my list of great talent,” the critically-acclaimed singer’s gorgeous voice and penchant for exploring music mostly untouched by other vocalists has set her apart as “one of the few exceptional standouts in the crowded field of female jazz singers,” (Los Angeles Times).

A beautiful voice and a beautiful soul. She really moves me.” Sheila Jordan, NEA 

Souter, “who may have been genetically predisposed to the blend of cultures reflected in her music, which contains Middle Eastern, Brazilian and flamenco elements in an airy jazz framework” (Philadelphia City Paper), has cast an increasingly wide musical net, from her Flamenco-tinged debut, Listen Love (Nara, 2004), to her Gold Disc-awarded Nights of Key Largo (Venus, 2008), to her London Sunday Times Jazz Albums of the Year, Beyond the Blue (Motéma, 2012), with legendary jazz pianist Steve Kuhn, and Picture in Black and White (NOA, 2018), a meditative exploration of her bi-racial heritage. The latter was also Album of the Week in the London Evening Standard and Number One Jazz Vocal Album of the Year for WVCR-FM’s Jay Hunter, as well as Ken Dryden’s and W. Royal Stokes’ Number One choice in the Downbeat Critics Poll. Souter is currently at work on her sixth album.

Singers like her don’t come along every day.” Neil Tesser, Chicago Examiner

She has performed all over the world, including multiple tours of the philharmonic halls of Russia, SF Jazz, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Mezzrow, the Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Pizza Express, Ronnie Scott’s, the London and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, Star Eyes (Nagoya), Body and Soul (Tokyo), and the Blue Notes in New York, Beijing and Shanghai. Pre-pandemic, her 17-year monthly residency at New York’s iconic 55 Bar was frequently standing room only. She has appeared seven times at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, where John Nugent, co-producer and artistic director of the  festival, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, “Tessa Souter has become a favorite of (festival) fans not only because of her beautiful voice and amazing artistry but because of her warmth as a person. She is a beautiful human being who relates to her audiences as well as any artist we’ve ever presented.”


Click on images to download hi res versions. Please credit Joseph Boggess, except for silver dress, credit Janis Wilkins


‘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.

Lonely Woman/Eleanor Rigby, Novosibirsk Concert Hall