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...

437

Tessa Souter: Obsession

Victor L. Schermer By

Sign in to view read count
Tessa Souter is a consummate and dedicated vocalist who is deservedly on the rise in the New York jazz scene and elsewhere. A contralto who sings with both precision and emotion, her impressionist and minimalist interpretations bring out the meanings of her songs while remaining true to their melodic lines. Following Listen Love (Nara Music, 2004) and Nights of Key Largo (Venus Records, 2008), Obsession continues her in-depth preoccupation with the nature and experience of love, but with a slight shift to the Latin rhythmic side. In this respect, she is helped along by a well-chosen ensemble of instrumentalists who surround her with gentle warmth. By incorporating guitar (Jason Ennis), accordion (Victor Prieto), and violin (Todd Reynolds) into the group, Souter establishes a sultry feeling of a late night cabana in a southern clime. This provides the backdrop for further reflections on the vicissitudes of intimacy which she pursued in her previous recordings.



The songs are well-chosen and carefully crafted, and the arrangements are done with great care to evoke an intended range of feelings and stylistic changes. The recording begins on the lonely 1960s note of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," and goes on to songs such as "Riverman," "Obsession," and "White Room," which evoke the passionate, obsessive side of love. "Afro Blue/Footprints" evokes John Coltrane's classic in an urbane manner, leading up to "Make This City Ours Tonight," while the remaining songs explore the light and dark aspects of intimacy, always with echoes of Latin genres. The instrumentalists complement Souter's singing with interpretive sensitivity, with Ennis' playing especially striking.



Souter stands out in a large field of contemporary jazz vocalists because, unlike most of them, she thinks before she sings and never compromises the music with irrelevancies. She thinks not only of the music itself, to which she brings ample talent and sophistication, but also almost philosophically about what she wants to say. She uses dynamics and inflections to convey a deeper sense of meaning that the songs imply, and she does it with great attention to details that most singers overlook. This contemplative aspect, along with her unique style, precise articulation and her well-trained, stunning voice, make Souter a vocalist to reckon with and one whose development should be followed with great interest.

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

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Don't Play With Love" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Play With Love
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 1, 2018
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Journey Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Journey Moments
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Partir" CD/LP/Track Review Partir
by John Kelman
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "The Unrecorded Fox" CD/LP/Track Review The Unrecorded Fox
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2018