ABOUT

 “An astute and expressive singer,” Nate Chinen, New York Times Critics Pick

Born of English and Trinidadian parents, New York-based, vocalist, Tessa Souter – an amazing natural talent whose crystal clear voice has captivated audiences all over the world –  has a distinctive and exotically beautiful style of jazz which evokes Andalusian Spain, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the Celtic folk music she grew up listening to.  “Magnificent! She blew me away!” said soul-jazz legend, Jon Lucien. “Her voice is sinuous and elastic, stretching and caressing a melody with an actress’ sense of the emotional meaning of each lyric,” said the Philadelphia City Paper.  “Her rendition of ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ proves that it is possible to be both sensual and spiritual at the same time,” said the New York Sun. And, in a rave review of her California debut in the Los Angeles Times, Don Heckman called hers “one of the most imaginatively programmed vocal sets of recent memory.”

 “A real treasure amongst an avalanche of women singers today” Bob Craig, “Voices in Jazz” WRTI Radio

Since then, her artistry has gone from strength to strength, taking her on four sold out tours of the philharmonic halls of Russia (she will be returning next season for her fifth tour), and performances at SF Jazz, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Mezzrow, the Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Joe’s Pub, Pizza Express, Ronnie Scott’s, the London and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. She has appeared six times at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, where in 2015 she was one of only four (out of 4,000 musicians) to be filmed by PBS Television (her one-hour concert and interview was broadcast across 92 networks) and where, in 2017, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle singled her out (from a huge roster of jazz A-listers) as “the one performer not to miss” over the entire nine-day festival. Her monthly residency at New York’s iconic 55 Bar is frequently standing room only.

“She’s at the top of my list of great talent. She really moves me.” SHEILA JORDAN, NEA

 

“A beguiling artist who infuses everything she interprets with voluptuous intelligence and keen emotional insight.” KQED ARTS 

A protégé of jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy, who called her a “true musician,”  “very moving” and “an extraordinary talent,” she has established herself as an uncommonly creative vocalist and songwriter with four critically-acclaimed albums, Listen Love  (Nara, 2004), Nights of Key Largo (Venus, 2008), Obsession (Motéma, 2009) and Beyond the Blue (Venus-Motéma, 2013), a UK Sunday Times magazine Top Ten Jazz CD, for which she set her own “exhilaratingly mature lyrics” (Chicago Examiner) to favorite classical melodies. Her new album, Picture in Black and White  (Noa) – a riveting musical journey inspired by her discovery at age 28 that her estranged birth father was Trinidadian and black, having been brought up to believe he was Spanish and white – is released October 5, 2018.

“A talented, broadly imaginative singer”  Ben Ratliff, New York Times

 

“Expressive . . . full of passion” Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer

As well as making five albums as a leader, she also appears on legendary bassist Charnett Moffett‘s Spirit of Sound (Motéma) album and on French singer Pascalito’s upcoming The Picture of Rafael Ohayon, and has performed and/or recorded with a veritable who’s who of jazz, including Steve Kuhn, Alan Broadbent, Kenny Werner, Yotam Silberstein, Yasushi Nakamura, Joe Locke, David Gilmore, Marvin Sewell, Billy Drummond, Joel Frahm, Lew Soloff, Romero Lubambo, Larry Koonse, Dana Leong, Francois Moutin, Alec Dankworth, Nikki Iles, Jim Hart, Lynne Arriale and Howard Johnson, who says of her, “Her brilliant lyrics and songs make her stand out from the pack so very much, not to mention how wonderfully she handles other people’s material.” To quote Los Angeles-based guitarist, Larry Koonse: “Tessa Souter has all the qualities I value most in a musician: great time, beautiful phrasing, gorgeous sound, a respect for silence, an emotional connection to the moment and a wonderful ability to tell a story. She is the ‘real thing’ in every way.”  

“A unique textural soundscape, far from the usual jazz combo experience.” Ron Netsky, Rochester City Paper

 

“Best of all she delivers it with a wit and a wink worthy of the toniest joints in town.” Time Out New York