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Beyond the Blue

5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 8, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Beyond the Blue finds Tessa Souter s crystalline voice and visceral
authenticity in rare form as she leads an all-star jazz ensemble on 12
superbly imaginative arrangements of songs from the classical canon.
Souter gives ample space to the extraordinary soloists, making it
especially satisfying for lovers of instrumental jazz. Truly a one of a
kind record!

Review

One of the few exceptional standouts in the crowded field of female
jazz singers. --Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Motema Music
  • ASIN: B007PSY0HY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is an exceptionally intelligent album by design. Tessa Souter, who has a very pleasing, full singing voice, has taken European classical music, written original lyrics (for the most part), and transformed the tunes into jazz. As such, I've been educated. I didn't know Mitchell Parish's "The Lamp is Low" is actually Ravel's "Pavane," for example, or "Baubles, Bangles & Beads" from Kismet is actually from Borodin's "String Quartet in D." (I suppose I could have guessed that educatedly, since "Dance With Me," is "Stranger in Paradise" by other lyrics, also by Borodin (Poldevetsian Dances) and "Kismet"; and most any jazz fan would know Rodrigo's "En Aranjuez con tu Amor" from Miles' "Sketches of Spain" and Chick Corea/Jon Hendricks' "Spain.")

But all of the songs here have European classical music as their source. As such, this is one of the most carefully thought out albums I can remember in recent times. The amount of intellect and effort that must have gone into this project by Ms. Souter and producers Tetsuo Hara and Todd Barkan is prodigious.

But I'm not giving the album 5 stars for that reason. 5 stars means "I Love It"; to this point, I admire it. In particular, European classical music can miss the "swing" essential to jazz, although "The Darkness of Your Eyes" (from Faure's "Pavane") swings like mad here.

What puts this over the top from "admire" to "love" imo is the work of the instrumentalists. This is one of the finest instrumental jazz albums amongst vocal jazz recordings that I can remember. Steve Kuhn on piano is wonderful, as are David Finck on bass and Billy Drummond on drums.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the second album from Tessa Souter that I've listened to, and listened to, and listened to. The second one that our daughter begs to hear before bed, and we comply, for weeks on end without tiring. It may sound strange but her voice has so much in it, so much emotion and soul that every listen moves me again. She writes some of the lyrics, too, I learned, which impresses me all the more. I'm no jazz expert, but I can spot shining glorious talent, and this vocalist has it in spades.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow! What an album, and what a voice! Definitely one for couples in the throes of a passionate relationship – or even for ones who’ve let go and now live to regret it.
I’ve been a fan of Ms Souter for years. With each album she seems to get closer and become more intimate – with Beyond the Blue it’s as if she is breathing in your ear and it’s spine-tingling stuff!
As with her other albums I’m recognizing classic themes which Souter uses as a springboard for her own sinewy vocals and the talents of her band – some riveting solos from every member, especially the sax! Technically this is her best performance yet – she’s stretching out her phrasing, playing with light and shade, making every syllable count - and hitting some amazing highs and lows.
I loved the smoky The Lamp is Low, the aptly named Chiaroscuro which takes Albinoni to places he couldn’t have imagined - and possibly the most evocative, En Aranguez Con Tu Amor, a largely instrumental interpretation of the classic Rodriguez concerto with some disturbing distant drums.
This is an album to smooch and make love to – or to weep, and dream of doing. Truly Souter is the torch singer for the 21st Century.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had not heard of Tessa Souter until recently, when I heard Brand New Day from this album on a jazz station.

Tessa Souter borrows some of the great melodies from the classical repertoire - Debussy's Reverie, Faure's Elegy, Beethoven's 7th Symphony, Ravel's Pavane, Borodin's Sting Quartet #2 and others, and puts words to them. These are world-class melodies with beautiful chords to play with and against, although she does re-harmonize Ravel.

The Steve Kuhn Trio provides sumptuous accompaniment and Joel Frahm on tenor sax and Joe Locke on vibes add just the right touches.

The star of the show of course is Ms. Souter. She has a beautiful alto voice - rich, expressive and pitch-perfect. She has one of the best jazz voices that I have heard in quite a while.

In short, this is a nearly perfect album; beautifully recorded, great melodies, terrific musicianship, and a beautiful voice. I will be looking for more from Ms. Souter for sure!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tessa Souter's "Beyond the Blue" was my first exposure to this brilliant artist, but only the beginning of my exploration of her incandescent recordings. Others have accurately and appropriately described how this project's classical sources have been transformed via musical alchemy to brilliant jazz vocal adventures, many with original lyrics. What is perhaps more difficult to communicate in a review is the emotional connection the singer has with all of this material, and the emotional attachment this generates in the listener. I find this disc to be utterly captivating, one that I can't stop listening to, and one that summons new connections with the spirit each time. This is special music, from a gifted musician and her band, and my life is richer for having discovered Tessa via this recording.
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