Live reviews

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2015

Jazz Festival 2015, Day 3: Ron reviews Tessa Souter, Nils Berg Cinemascope, and Raul Midon, June 21, 2015

Rochester City Paper. By Ron Netsky

“I rarely go back for a second show, but Tessa Souter is one of my favorite singers, so why not indulge? Souter has been at the festival four times before at three different venues. She finally made it to Kilbourn Hall. … a unique textural soundscape, far from the usual jazz combo experience.” In the post-festival round-up Tessa was also picked as one of Ron Netsky’s “two favorite vocalists”, along with Cecile McLorin Savant. Read that here.

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(Shorter) print version of article

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2015

Mistress of Romance Lost and Found June 21, 2015

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. By Jeff Spevac

“She opened with Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,” cooly wailing with mystique, like a voice carried across the North African dunes.”

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2015

Spevak’s Pick Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. By Jeff Spevac

“Souter did such a smashing job last year at Montage Music Hall that she got the big promotion this year to Kilbourn Hall.”

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Blues Alley, Washington DC

Tessa Souter: The Calm in the Storm July 2014

Woman Around Town. By Charlene Giametti

“There aren’t too many vocalists who can get fans to come out in the midst of a monsoon. Tessa Souter is one. Her performance Tuesday evening, July 15, at Blues Alley, provided more than just shelter from the storm. Tessa, accompanied by an outstanding trio of musicians, delivered a varied program featuring some of her favorite songs and some new additions. She changed up tempo and emotions, taking us to the depths of despair – ‘I will forget how it was at the start, before hello and goodbye’ – then to the heights – ‘All or Nothing at All’ – and everything in between.” 

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2014

Tessa Souter Steals the Show. June 2014

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. By Jeff Spevac

“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…”

souter steals the show

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2014

Jazz Festival 2014, Day 5. Louis Hayes, Cannonball Adderly Legacy Band, Forever Young and Tessa Souter

Rochester City Paper. By Ron Netsky

“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. This was Souter’s fourth appearance at the XRIJF and she has never been predictable. While most jazz singers concentrate on standards, Souter did just one, a lovely rendition of “I’ll Remember April.” Her set was filled with her own adaptations of classical and jazz instrumental works and a beautifully re-imagined version of McCoy Tyner’s ‘Contemplation,’ renamed ‘Ancestors’ by Souter’s friend [vocalist Vicki Burns] who wrote lyrics to the tune.”

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Blues Alley, Washington DC

Tessa Souter at Blues Alley October 2013

Woman Around Town. By Charlene Giametti

Blues Alley is an intimate setting for a jazz quartet and the singer, Tessa Souter, made it even more so on Monday evening, October 21, with an eclectic selection of songs that displayed her range and allowed each of her talented musicians to shine.” 

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Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society

Tessa Souter Quartet , December, 2012

AllAboutJazz. By Bill Leikam

“The audience gave an extended ovation in appreciation for an afternoon and evening of daring, beautiful jazz.”

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2012

Jazz fest Day 1: Get the Blessing, Karrin Allyson, Tessa Souter June 2012

Rochester City Paper: By Ron Netsky

“Souter’s voice was gorgeous on the classical/jazz fusion pieces and on the few standards she performed. The audience seemed absolutely entranced by her rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Look Of Love,” which featured a mesmerizing guitar solo by Tom Guarna.” 

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2012

Pavanes from a Princess: Going Beyond the Blue with Tessa Souter

Souter and company astonished those of us lucky enough to squeeze in to the venue from a line that railed for blocks out of the doors.

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2012

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: By Jack Garner

Women Will Shine at Rochester Jazz Festival

“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.”

Blues Alley, Washington DC

Souter’s Tour de Force at Blues Alley  May 2012

“Tessa Souter, always a thrilling performer, was truly at the top of her game. Backed up by a five-piece band of superbly talented musicians, 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.”

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Trade Unions Palace of Culture, Minsk, Belarus

Tessa Souter and Apple Tea: Rethought Classics February 2012

“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.” Article is in Belarussian

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55 Bar, New York

Tessa Souter-Sean Smith Bass-Voice Duo Nov. 2011

By Sebastian Scotney

“What is surprising is that this pared-down instrumentation never leaves the listener needing more. How do they do that? Well, Souter has an unparalleled sense of line, a deep knowledge of every song, while Smith string-crosses, double-stops and has clearly thought through how the bass can become and orchestra. 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.”

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Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

Tessa Souter March 2011

By Chris Parker

“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.”

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Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society

Tessa Souter at Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, February 2011

By Bill Leikam

“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.”

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55 Bar, New York

 Tessa Souter and Gene Bertoncini Duo

Woman Around Town. By Charlene Giametti

“For jazz lovers, it just doesn’t get any better than this—55 Christopher Street, a hole in the wall that appears to be stuck in a time warp, stirring sounds from a guitar in the hands of a master, and mellifluous notes from perhaps the best jazz vocalist on the scene today. To say that Tessa Souter sings jazz is to dramatically understate her performance. She wraps her voice around each note, infuses the lyrics with emotion, and, in the process, transforms even well known classics into something different and quite wonderful.”

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Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

Live Review July 2010

London Jazz News

By Jeanie Barton

“I shared an evening of song with Tessa Souter, a charming, willowy Englishwoman who now lives in New York. Dressed in a floor length black/gold dress, her hair piled high in a top knot on her head, in silhouette she is reminiscent of a Roman or Egyptian goddess. She also creates a very warm atmosphere in which one feels like her guest, or a member of her family invited round for cocktails … But it is Tessa Souter’s warmth, and the powerful images of attraction which stay in the mind, 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.”

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Joe’s Pub, New York

An Eclectic Mix of Jazz -Woman Around Town – Joe’s Pub

Woman Around Town. By Charlene Giametti

“Jazz lovers in New York are blessed with many places to enjoy wonderful music in beautiful settings. 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. Even her backup band—an electrified acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and accordion—seemed to make a statement that this was not the run of the mill cabaret act. And Joe’s Pub was the perfect place for Souter’s show. The large room somehow seemed intimate, and her audience was a cross section of young and old.”

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55 Bar, New York

Jazz Critique Magazine (Japanese) January 2010

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Catalina Bar and Grill, Los Angeles

Live Review of Tessa Souter September 2009

International Review of Music. By Don Heckman

“Tessa Souter’s performance at Catalina Bar & Grill Wednesday night was billed as an introduction to her new CD, Obsession (Motema).  And she devoted a good portion of her program to readings of material from the album. Characteristically, each song was enhanced by new interpretive views. But Souter is too adventurous an artist to limit herself to a single group of material, and she seasoned her long set with a few intriguing additions — reaching from Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” to her own gripping, English language rendering of Léo Ferré’s French classic, “Avec le Temps.” … Souter has a way of inhabiting a song, and this performance was no exception.”

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2009

Rochester City News. By Ron Netsky

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. Link to full article to come

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2007

Festival Preview. By Ron Netsky

“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.”

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Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, 2007

Review of Festival Debut By Ron Netsky

“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.”

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Catalina Bar and Grill, LA, 2002

An Unsigned Standout in a Crowded Field October 2002

Los Angeles Times. By Don Heckman

“Tessa Souter is not a name that is likely to ring any familiar bells. Not at the moment, that is. But the impressive performance by the Afro-British-caribbean jazz singer at Catalina Bar & Grill on Monday night suggested that her relative obscurity may be about to end. Gracefully commanding stage center, with guitarist Larry Koonse at her right, bassist Jeff Littleton and drummer Kendall Kay on her left, the slender, dark-haired Souter offered one of the most imaginatively programmed sets in recent memory … Souter, whose musical sophistication gives her a significant advantage in the competitive clamor surrounding the current world of ambitious female jazz artists, also has the rare quality of authenticity.”

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