All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...

272

Tessa Souter: Half Moon Bay, February 13, 2011

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Tessa Souter
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, California
February 13, 2011

There are times, at the Douglas Beach House (aka the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society), when a singer comes in and subtly moves the audience to a deeper attention than might otherwise be the case. So it was, when jazz vocalist, composer, and lyricist Tessa Souter took the stage on Sunday, February 13, 2011. Aside from Souter, the quintet consisted drummer Akira Tana, bassist Dan Robbins, pianist Dan Zemelman and guitarist John Stowell. The concert was performed the day before Valentine's Day, and so, in her opening comments Souter said, "We're going to do a lot of love songs for you this afternoon, and tell love stories, too." And so it was, with 95 percent of her chart being her own arrangements.

It can be dicey for a performer to bring in his/her compositions and arrangements, performing with a pickup band that has never before seen the sheet music, much less had a rehearsal. Still, Souter pulled through with depth and passion, her powerful facial expressions easily seen, as she went deep into herself to bring out the full meaning of the lyrics. This was well-noted in Souter's version of The Beatles' classic, "Eleanor Rigby." Souter's arrangement was much slower and smoother than the original, and she wrapped the song in a heavy sadness with smooth, liquid phrasing.

On the second song of the first set, Souter's arrangement "Afro Blue," Zemelman delivered a refreshing piano solo, his phrasing quick and sharp, giving the song an expressiveness that worked well with Souter's lyrics. It was obvious that the pianist was having fun, finding a mutual groove with Souter throughout the concert.

It took the band until the second set of the evening to finally click and really come together. Even Souter seemed to let go more, to relax into the evening much more than in the first set. The opening song, again arranged by Tessa, was the old standard "Night and Day." Robbins led the opening bars, as the rest of the members slipped in behind Souter's milky smooth lyrics. Elsewhere in the set, Stowell's guitar was sometimes reminiscent of Bruce Forman in the 1980s, but Downbeat Magazine said it the best: "He plays his amplified guitar as if he were surrounded by fine crystal...." And, of course, in this case, the fine crystal was, metaphorically speaking, none other than Souter, especially when she sang tunes like Wayne Shorter's "Ana Maria."

Overall, the audience was drawn in by her voice, but didn't applaud very often after featured solos by members of the band, and when they did it was what might best be referred to as a polite applause.

The evening with Tessa Souter was worth all of the love that one could give, as the Douglas Beach House was graced by a unique jazz singer.

Photo Credit
Chuck Gee

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018: The Community Series at Koncertkirken Live Reviews
Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018: The Community Series at...
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2 Live Reviews
Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2
by James Fleming
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn Live Reviews
Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Flow Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Flow Festival 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge Live Reviews
Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2018
Read 3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition Live Reviews
3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 9, 2018
Read "Dixie Dregs at the Boulder Theater" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at the Boulder Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "We Jazz: Moveable Feast Fest Theory" Live Reviews We Jazz: Moveable Feast Fest Theory
by Josef Woodard
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad" Live Reviews Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad
by Doug Hall
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Michael Lington At Blue Note Napa" Live Reviews Michael Lington At Blue Note Napa
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews 7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 25, 2018