...a talented... broadly imaginative singer.
NEW YORK TIMES
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. Unlike many of her
contemporaries she seems more focused on exploring the limitless
creativity of the art than simply having another go at the Great American
LOS ANGELES TIMES
On her amazing album Listen Love, she delivers powerful versions of
nonstandards such as Pat Martino’s “Willow” and Pharoah Sanders’ complex
“The Creator Has a Master Plan,” in addition to her originals, all delivered in
a crystal-clear voice with diamond-cut phrasing and a slight tinge of
melancholy. She’s a gem.
Like Norma Winstone—whose lyrics for Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" she
uses here—Souter understands what is needed to deliver a song.... Souter's
singing style feels natural and organic — her rich, dark voice combines
with her ability to see the shape of a tune and so the words seem to come
from her soul.
DONALD ELFMAN, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
An Afro-British-Caribbean stylist who proves that the jazz singer’s
repertoire is no longer limited to the Great American Songbook. Direct and
soulful. Plus she’s the only singer who can make sense of Pharoah Sanders,
‘The Creator Has a Master Plan.’
Tessa Souter brings new life to time-honored standards while also mining a
creative spark from the unlikeliest quarters—Sting’s “Fragile,” Pharoah
Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan,” even Rodrigo’s “Concierto de
Aranjuez.” ...Gentle, spare accompaniment... helps emphasize Souter’s
understated, intimate approach.
TIME OUT NEW YORK
Unlike many jazz singers, who either emulate the brassy blasts of a trumpet
or the gymnastic lines of a saxophone, Souter uses the sustained waves of a
violinist. Her voice is sinuous and elastic, stretching and caressing a melody
with an actress' sense of the emotional meaning of each lyric. Souter's
debut, Listen Love (Nara), is striking for reasons beyond her voice, however.
First, the CD is refreshingly free of the Great American Songbook. The
closest Souter comes to a standard is her snake-charming rendition of
PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER
Soulful. You’ll be hearing more from this lady.
On her new album, 'Listen Love' (Nara Music), she avoids the obvious
earmarks of jazz style: There are no horns, little piano, and a lot of guitars
and percussion. Still, Ms. Souter is undeniably a jazz singer. When she does
'Caravan,' she stretches notes to suggest pentatonic chanting, accompanied
by guitar and bass mimicking Middle Eastern string instruments... Ms.
Souter has also supplied lyrics to several instrumentals, including Pat
Martino's 'Willow'.... Her rendition of Pharoah Sanders's 'The Creator Has a
Master Plan' proves that it's possible to be spiritual and sensual at the same
THE NEW YORK SUN
Tessa Souter's Listen Love marks the debut of an important new jazz singer.
It's hard to believe she only recently became a vocalist, because she sings
with the authority and passion that usually comes from long experience.
JIM MOTAVELLI, RADIO HOST, WPKN FM
Ms. Souter dazzles and stuns with her vocal expertise on a potpourri of
classics and a few that she adds her own lyrics to. All rendered with taste
and élan. It’s a jam packed world out in jazz vocal land but Ms. Souter is
able to lend an innate musicality and tastefulness to her performances that
separates her from the herd. Jimmy Rowles’ The Peacocks shimmers in her
voice, while Pat Martino’s Willow gains added depth with Ms. Souter’s own
lyrical bent. Caravan is done with a gorgeously referenced Middle Eastern
feel that sounds more right than the original. Pharoah Sander’s The Creator
Has A Master Plan is even better as performed by Ms. Souter than Leon
Thomas’s version as she makes the music and lyrics come together with
added depth to the spiritual aspects of the piece. All in all Ms. Souter
imbues her singing with sensitivity and profound insights without beating
you over the head. An outstanding new release.”
JOHN HAMMEL, WNTI RADIO WEBSITE REVIEW
”Reflective, spare, serious, hypnotic... I've been playing it over and over and
keep finding new things … settle back and be bathed in a simply beautiful
voice possessed by someone who has learned how to use it.”
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.
Magnificent! I couldn’t stop playing it over and over. She blew me away!
One of the finest of the growing singers in our midst. Tessa is a complete
musician whose range of music, expression and dynamic presentation are
remarkable and very moving, completely capturing her audience.
An important musician. Tessa has naturally what people spend years trying
to develop. Her brilliant lyrics and songs make her stand out from the pack
so very much. And she creates a mood and an atmosphere when she takes