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...

200

Tessa Souter: Obsession

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
New York-based, British-born Tessa Souter is a jazz singer with interests far outside the jazz world. On Obsession, Souter mostly shuns well-trodden standards and classic jazz fare in favor of a varied set of rock, pop and Brazilian tunes.

With her rich contralto and crystal-clear diction, Souter delivers lyrics with a theatrical, but never overdramatic, flair. Nothing sounds forced or hurried in her delivery; she's a relaxed, confident singer who succeeds at creating a romantic, vaguely tropical mood with apparent ease. And she knows how to get inside a song, even a familiar one, and make it her own. She treats The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" plaintively without turning too morose and offers a sophisticated, reflective reading of the late British folk-rocker Nick Drake's "Riverman."

Many of the tunes have a Brazilian flavor, including a highly original reimagining of Cream's '60s hard-rock anthem "White Room," with an arrangement by guitarist Jason Ennis. The Brazilian theme continues on delightful versions of two songs by Milton Nascimento, "Make This City Ours Tonight" and "Vera Cruz (Empty Faces)." Other highlights include a simple, yet soulful take on Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue"; a moving rendition of Alex Nort's "Love Theme from Spartacus," with Souter backed only by guitar and bass and the singer's own "Usha's Wedding," an enchanting Middle-Eastern-inspired tune.

Backed by a small, spare ensemble led by Ennis' acoustic guitar, Victor Prieto's accordion and Todd Reynolds' violin, Souter has made a deeply satisfying album of jazz and jazz-inflected music that should appeal to a wide audience.

Track Listing: Eleanor Rigby; Riverman; Obsession; White Room; Afro Blue/Footprints; Make This City Ours Tonight; Crystal Rain—Sunshower; Empty Faces - Vera Cruz; Now and Then; Nara's Song—Little Sunflower; Love Them from Spartacus; Usha's Wedding.

Personnel: Tessa Souter: vocals; Jason Ennis: guitar; Gary Wang: bass; Conor Meehan: drums; Victor Prieto: accordion; Todd Reynolds: violin; Ansel Matthews: backing vocals.

Title: Obsession | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Motema Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Tessa Souter
Beyond The Blue

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
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

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar2Sat
Tessa Souter
Joe's Pub
New York, NY
Apr10Wed
Tessa Souter
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Apr10Wed
Tessa Souter
Blues Alley
Washington, DC

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019
Read Perception Album Reviews
Perception
By Paul Rauch
February 20, 2019
Read I Love the Rhythm in a Riff Album Reviews
I Love the Rhythm in a Riff
By Mackenzie Horne
February 20, 2019
Read Head First Album Reviews
Head First
By Roger Farbey
February 20, 2019
Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019