Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

58

Tessa Souter: Beyond The Blue

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The mere mention of jazz-classical hybridization may draw scowls from jazz fans who've encountered more than their fare share of ill-conceived projects that trade in on this idea, but vocalist Tessa Souter avoids all the usual pitfalls. Beyond The Blue isn't about joining these worlds at the hip; it's about using the frameworks and melodies of classical works as the foundation and scaffolding for new ideas.

Souter saunters her way through a dozen alluring pieces built around the work of Beethoven, Borodin and Chopin, amongst others, but she never apes the originals or resorts to cheap, paint-by-numbers, swinging-the-classics gimmickry. She works with warm colors and relaxed moodiness, avoiding overly bright sounds or notions for the majority of the album. While each piece is full of emotive expressionism, Souter never overplays her hand in the music and she always finds a way to weave her lyrics into the textural fabric of the whole. Some singers make their mark by standing in front of, or apart from, their bands, but Souter revels in the integrative possibilities at hand.

The seed of inspiration for this project was pianist Steve Kuhn's take on Chopin's "Prelude In E Minor"—from Pavane For A Dead Princess (Venus, 2006)—and the trio from that album provides masterful support and companionship for Souter during this journey. Kuhn's piano can be ruminative or rousing, but his touch is always sensitive and suffused with color, and the rhythm tandem of bassist David Finck and drummer Billy Drummond is to-die-for. Finck can be alternately springy or sound of body and Drummond can play it loose or tight with equal skill.

The ensemble is rounded out with vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Joel Frahm and accordion ace Gary Versace, who help to provide added depth and descriptive details to the music. All three men mix noir-ish elements and chamber jazz ideals into these works. On the solo front, Kuhn, Locke and Frahm garner the most attention, but Finck also makes a few noteworthy contributions along the way.

While Souter includes a few classics that were previously cut from the same classical-to-jazz cloth ("Baubles, Bangles And Beads"), the majority of the numbers are new-old works, with her own lyrics grafted onto organically shaped bodies built by the band. Everything from Joaquin Rodrigo's jazz-associated work to Tomaso Albinoni's off-the-well-known-path "Adagio In G Minor" are putty in Souter's capable hands, as she molds them into fine works of art. Beyond The Blue is a beyond-beautiful collection of music that bridges the classical-jazz divide without issue.

Track Listing: Prelude To The Sun; The Lamp Is Low; Dance With Me; Chiaroscuro; My Reverie; En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor; Sunrise; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; Beyond The Blue; The Darkness Of Your Eyes; Noa's Dreams; Brand New Day.

Personnel: Tessa Souter: vocals; Steve Kuhn: piano; David Finck: bass; Billy Drummond: drums; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Gary Versace: accordion; Joel Frahm: saxophones.

Title: Beyond The Blue | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Motema Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Tessa Souter
Beyond The Blue

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Motéma Music
2012

buy
Nights of Key Largo

Nights of Key Largo

Venus Records
2009

buy
Obsession

Obsession

Motéma Music
2009

buy
Listen Love

Listen Love

Narada Jazz
2005

buy
Date Detail Price
Dec14Fri
6:00 pm
Tessa Souter
55 Bar
New York, NY
Jan8Tue
7:30 pm
Tessa Souter
Mezzrow Jazz Club
New York, NY
Jan11Fri
6:00 pm
Tessa Souter
55 Bar
New York, NY
Mar2Sat
7:00 pm
Tessa Souter
Joe's Pub
New York, NY

Related Articles

Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "Along Similar Lines" CD/LP/Track Review Along Similar Lines
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "Overneath" CD/LP/Track Review Overneath
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2018
Read "1538" CD/LP/Track Review 1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Cyrille Aimee Live" CD/LP/Track Review Cyrille Aimee Live
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 5, 2018
Read "Emanon" CD/LP/Track Review Emanon
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 28, 2018