Live reviews

“Overall ‘Chiaroscuro – Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor’ from 2012’s classically themed Beyond the Blue came over most movingly – an album that cleverly made use of classical themes as a backdrop to Souter’s very literary writing style framed by jazz arrangements.” MARLBANK. BY STEPHEN GRAHAM. READ

“The variety of her song selections, coupled with the uniqueness of her original arrangements, made it obvious that Souter’s so comfortable on stage that anything could happen and it would probably be great . . . An overall thrilling evening with distinctive choices expertly sung.” THE PHEASANTRY, LONDONJAZZNEWS. BY LAVENDER SUTTON READ


“For a guy who isn’t a part of the candles-on-the-table crowd, who leans strange, I never expected to fall for Souter this hard. But she had me at the opening number…” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ‘TESSA SOUTER STEALS THE SHOW’. BY JEFF SPEVAC READ

souter steals the show

“Souter is truly a “first lady of song” if there ever was one, and she delivered a set that showed how much beauty, truth, and honest self-expression remain with us …” SOAPBOX GALLERY, NEW YORK, JANUARY 26, 2021, ALLABOUTJAZZ BY VICTOR L. SCHERMER READ

“I’m convinced that she is the most complete singer I have ever heard; articulating her voice seamlessly up and down the scales in an almost hypnotic way.” LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL JANUARY 10,2018, HIFIANSWERS.COM. BY TONY ANDREWS READ

Tessa Souter and Winston Clifford singing my original tune, Usha’s Wedding Song.

“Xerox 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.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ‘TESSA SOUTER BURNISHES ROCHESTER CREDENTIALS’. BY JUSTIN MURPHY READ

“The one show not to miss, best of day and best of entire festival. The ethereal vocalist, a hit at previous festivals, is a truly original and artful stylist. She’ll be doing works from a new album but keep your fingers crossed for her stunning version of ‘Eleanor Rigby.’ ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE, BY JACK GARNER

“Tessa Souter, Pizza Express Jazz Club (18 November) A really beautiful, surprise a cappella duet from Tessa Souter and her drummer Winston Clifford at Pizza Express Jazz Club on Saturday night. Tessa’s version of Wayne Shorter’s Ana Maria (with her own lyrics) was also very moving.” MINI REVIEW OF LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL, LONDONJAZZNEWS,  BY JOHN WATSON

Rochester City Paper Review for Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2017

“At Xerox Auditorium, Tessa Souter was winning over the crowd with her excellent band. For most of her set, she took jazz classics, highly familiar in their instrumental versions, and sang them with lyrics she (or occasionally someone else) wrote. Her words to tunes like John Coltrane’s “Equinox” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” fit like a glove. And she didn’t restrict herself to jazz composers. One of the best songs of the night was a collaboration between Souter and Chopin.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017, ROCHESTER CITY PAPER. BY RON NETSKY READ

“I rarely go back for a second show, but Tessa Souter is one of my favorite singers, so why not indulge?  … a unique textural soundscape, far from the usual jazz combo experience.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL (2015). ROCHESTER CITY PAPER. BY RON NETSKY READ

“Out of 1500 aritsts . . . The festival brought many great vocalists to town. My two favorites were Cecile McLorin Salvant and Tessa Souter. So far in her career, McLorin Salvant is mostly an interpreter of tunes from the early days of jazz, but she breathes new life into every one of them. Souter is far more personal. The drama in her songs often concerns her own life experience. At Kilbourn her voice was gorgeous and her performances were intimate. READ


“You Won’t Forget Me from the 1953 Joan Crawford Film, Torch Song, later revived by Shirley Horn, was given exquisite treatment leading to the highlight, in an evening of highlights, – the merging of Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman with the Beatles Eleanor Rigby.” BEBOPSPOKENHERE.COM. BY LANCE LIDDLE READ

“She opened with Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,” cooly wailing with mystique, like a voice carried across the North African dunes.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ‘MISTRESS OF THE LOST AND FOUND’. BY JEFF SPEVAC READ

“Souter did such a smashing job last year at Montage Music Hall that she got the big promotion this year to Kilbourn Hall.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ‘JEFF SPEVAC’S PICKS’. BY JEFF SPEVAC READ

“There aren’t too many vocalists who can get fans to come out in the midst of a monsoon. Tessa Souter is one.BLUES ALLEY, JULY, WOMAN AROUND TOWN. ‘TESSA SOUTER: THE CALM IN THE STORM’ BY CHARLENE GIAMETTI

“Of course the star of the show was Souter, who was in great form, enchanting the audience with her gorgeous voice and her vibrant personality.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ROCHESTER CITY PAPER. ‘JAZZ FESTIVAL DAY 5’. BY RON NETSKY READ

Blues Alley is an intimate setting for a jazz quartet and the singer, Tessa Souter, made it even more so.” BLUES ALLEY, OCTOBER, WOMAN AROUND TOWN. ‘TESSA SOUTER AT BLUES ALLEY’ BY CHARLENE GIAMETTI 

“There may not be another singer who can carry the long arc of a melody with quite Tessa Souter‘s concentration, evenness and control. (Try The Peacocks from her debut album. . . )” PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB, LONDON. TESSA SOUTER QUARTET BY LONDON JAZZ NEWS  READ

Lynne Arriale, Tessa Souter, Jim Hart. Pizza Express Dean Street, Feb 2012. Photo credit Cat Munro

“The audience gave an extended ovation in appreciation for an afternoon and evening of daring, beautiful jazz.” BACH DANCING AND DYNAMITE SOCIETY, HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA, ALLABOUTJAZZ. TESSA SOUTER QUARTET, BY BILL LEIKAM READ

“For jazz lovers, it just doesn’t get any better than this . . . stirring sounds from a guitar in the hands of a master, and mellifluous notes from perhaps the best jazz vocalist on the scene today.” 55 BAR, NEW YORK, WOMAN AROUND TOWN. TESSA SOUTER-GENE BERTONCINI: SOULFUL, INTIMATE JAZZ BY CHARLENE GIAMETTI  READ

“The audience seemed absolutely entranced by her rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Look Of Love.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, 2012. ROCHESTER CITY PAPER. ‘JAZZ FESTIVAL DAY 1’. BY RON NETSKY READ

“Souter and company astonished those of us lucky enough to squeeze in to the venue from a line that Trailed for blocks out of the doors.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ECMREVIEWS.COM ‘PAVANES FROM A PRINCESS: GOING BEYOND THE BLUE’ BY TYRAN GRILLO READ

“The [Rochester Jazz Festival] offers a wonderful slate of the day’s best female singers, and three of them appear opening night  , , . They are singer-pianist Diana Krall, the innovative Tessa Souter and the exquisitely jazz-minded Karrin Allyson … Souter is more a newcomer, but with each album she shows increasing interest in finding new approaches, making familiar music seem fresh and new.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ‘WOMEN WILL SHINE AT ROCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL’. BY JACK GARNER READ

“Tessa Souter, always a thrilling performer, was truly at the top of her game . . . she didn’t just put on a show, she staged an event. And judging by the enthusiastic response, she picked up an entire room of new, loyal fans . . .  Surprising, emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, simply amazing.” BLUES ALLEY, MAY. WOMAN AROUND TOWN. ‘TESSA SOUTER’S TOUR DE FORCE AT BLUES ALLEY’ BY CHARLENE GIAMETTI

“The idea of rethinking classical works is not a new phenomenon, but Souter managed to surprise the audience with fresh and interesting arrangements, and touching lyrics that she wrote herself.” TRADE UNIONS PALACE OF CULTURE, MINSK, BELARUS. EUROJAZZ-FM Article is in Belarussian READ

“Apart from a solitary riff from the barman on cocktail shaker during Souter’s opener, ‘Afro Blue’, the whole audience is held in rapt attention.” 55 BAR, NEW YORK. LONDONJAZZNEWS, TESSA SOUTER-SEAN SMITH VOICE-BASS DUO BY SEBASTIAN SCOTNEY READ

“The concluding track on Tessa Souter’s recent album Obsession, ‘Usha’s Wedding’, neatly encapsulates her artistic strengths: the ability to imbue everything she sings with ingenuous sincerity, a keen ear for a simple but deeply affecting melody, a genuine rapport with her bandmates.” PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB, LONDON, LONDONJAZZNEWS, MARCH 2011 BY CHRIS PARKER READ

“There are times, at the Douglas Beach House (aka the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society), when a singer comes in and subtly moves the audience to a deeper attention than might otherwise be the case. So it was, when jazz vocalist, composer, and lyricist Tessa Souter took the stage.” BACH DANCING AND DYNAMITE SOCIETY, HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA. ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM REVIEW BY BILL LEIKAM READ

“One of those performers who explores beautiful, lesser-heard material and has superb taste in composers, including compositions by musical titans Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento . . .  a memorable and unique singer.” EARSHOT JAZZ FESTIVAL, SEATTLE GAY NEWS REVIEW BY E. JOYCE GLASGOW  READ

“. . .  as in a particularly haunting line from the title track of her CD Obsession (Motema): ‘you’re like a wind that blows in front of a storm.’ I was blown away.” PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB, LONDON, LONDONJAZZNEWS. BY JEANIE BARTON READ

“Every now and then, however, someone comes along who is refreshingly different and raises the bar for every other jazz singer. Tessa Souter is that performer.” JOE’S PUB, NEW YORK, WOMAN AROUND TOWN ‘AN ECLECTIC MIX OF JAZZ’ BY CHARLENE GIAMETTI READ


“Characteristically, each song was enhanced by new interpretive views . . . Souter has a way of inhabiting a song, and this performance was no exception.” CATALINA BAR AND GRILL, LOS ANGELES, SEPTEMBER. INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF MUSIC. REVIEW BY DON HECKMAN READ

“British singer Tessa Souter is one of my favorite vocalists, but I was a bit concerned that the heavy rain and competition from jazz titan Dave Brubeck might make for a sparse crowd at Christ Church Wednesday night. So, on my way into the late show, I asked the door person about attendance at the first show. She said it was sold out and that many people stood in the rain, hoping to get in . . . To say that Souter enchanted the audience would be an understatement. At most of the Club Pass concerts I’ve been to, dozens of people leave before the end so they can make it to the next show. With 10 p.m. approaching (starting time for four venues) only a few people in the capacity crowd left. Everyone else seemed to be transfixed by Souter’s gorgeous voice and wonderful personality.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2009. ROCHESTER CITY PAPER. ‘JAZZ FESTIVAL’. BY RON NETSKY READ

“‘I Know With Time’ full of poignant and captivating lyrics drew strong reactions from the audience.” THE JAZZ BAKERY, LOS ANGELES. LA JAZZ SCENE 2008, REVIEW BY CHRIS j. WALKER READ

“If you’re going to write your own lyrics to Joaquin Rodrigo’s ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’ and re-imagine Leon Thomas’ ‘Creator Has a Master Plan’, you’d better know what you’re doing. One hearing of Souter’s stunning album, Listen Love, leaves no doubt that she does.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2007. FESTIVAL PREVIEW BY RON NETSKY READ

“It’s one thing to hear a superb set from a known giant like Randy Brecker. it’s a different, particularly exhilarating feeling to witness a great performance by a relatively unknown singer like Tessa Souter. Judging from the ovations she received [on] Saturday night, the entire audience felt the same way . . . humor, combined with a gorgeous voice and eclectic repertoire, made Souter a festival favorite.” XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2007. ROCHESTER CITY PAPER TESSA SOUTER’S FESTIVAL DEBUT BY RON NETSKY READ