All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

433

Tessa Souter: Nights of Key Largo

Suzanne Lorge By

Sign in to view read count
Tessa Souter excels at creating mood and on her new CD, Nights of Key Largo, that mood is one of a relaxed intimacy: She never strains to emote, never pushes a note, never rushes a phrase. Her material—13 songs about moonlight, sand and romance—lends itself to this kind of laid-back treatment, reminding the listener that there is more to life than hurrying to be somewhere, with the stressful soundtrack that accompanies such a feverish lifestyle playing in one's head.

Souter has selected some of New York's top musicians for her band, all of them just as practiced in the art of the slow groove as Souter. Pianist Kenny Werner is the master of subtle phrasing and adds unexpected color and commentary throughout the CD, especially on Souter's renditions of "The Look of Love," a contemplative dialogue between the two musicians that counters the usual understanding of this popular tune. Souter creates a similarly reflective mood with guitarist Romero Lubambo on the seductive "A Slow Hot Wind," with tantalizing solo lines by the incomparable Joel Frahm on saxophone. Jay Leonhart and Billy Drummond round out Souter's A-list rhythm section.

As might be expected on a record celebrating a tropical isle, the CD has a couple of well-known Latin tunes—opener "The Island" and Sergio Mendes' "So Many Stars"—both easy and inviting and utterly indolent. But later Souter surprises with "All or Nothing At All" at a moderate Brazilian tempo and the bluesy "Key Largo," featuring Werner's bright chords and Drummond's spirited drum lines. The lyrics tell us that the sun has gone down—on the beach as well as on the lovers—and yet the vibe is so warm that you can still feel the rays on the sand.

Souter's take on "Morning of the Carnival" opens with Leonhart bowing a sad little bit before she enters with her plaintive vocals, playing against the lyrics—an excellent choice for the eleventh-hour number and one of the standout performances on the disc.

Another standout: Souter's arrangement of John Lennon's "Imagine," complete with inspired melodic alterations and interpolations of the "Long and Winding Road". It is quite a long road from the mainland to Key Largo, but with the top down and Souter's latest playing, the time would fly.

Track Listing: The Island; Close Enough For Love; Moondance; So Many Stars; The Look Of Love; You Only Live Twice; Key Largo; Slow Hot Wind; Moon And Sand; I'm Glad There Is You; All Or Nothing At All; Morning Of The Carnival; Imagine.

Personnel: Tessa Souter: vocals; Joel Frahm: tenor and soprano sax; Kenny Werner: piano; Romero Lubambo: guitar; Jay Leonhart: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

Title: Nights of Key Largo | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Venus Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Live In London Volume II CD/LP/Track Review
Live In London Volume II
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait CD/LP/Track Review
Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Lost Days CD/LP/Track Review
Lost Days
by Don Phipps
Published: August 16, 2018
Read "Solo Violin" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Violin
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 18, 2018
Read "Octet Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Octet Vol. 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "speak between" CD/LP/Track Review speak between
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "Love & Surrender" CD/LP/Track Review Love & Surrender
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 9, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "A Sleepin' Bee" CD/LP/Track Review A Sleepin' Bee
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 3, 2017