What they said about ‘iLanga’

 

Voici le nouvel album de Tutu Puoane chanteuse de jazz sud-africaine qui revient avec tout son enthousiasme et sa justesse pour nous livrer ce projet si profondémentissu de ces origines et de son identité. Elle a toujours cette voix si chaude et souple qui lui permet de tenir la comparaison à de nombreuses artistes de premier plan. Tutu Poane continue son irrésistible ascension dans le monde du Jazz et ne devrait pas s’arrêter en si bon chemin. Ilanga est une nouvelle preuve de son talent . À découvrir.

– Par Nicolas Vidal – www.bscnews.fr


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On 20 February 2012, the 3 of us (Tutu, Ewout & Nic) flew to New York City to join our beloved brother Lieven in a studio in Brooklyn to record our second album together as a quartet. This follow up of “Quiet Now”, is an even more personal statement from all 4 members of the band. Only 2 covers on this offering by celebrated South African jazz giants, Abdullah Ibrahim & Bheki Mseleku, the rest of the 7 tracks were composed by the band, especially for this project.
The incredible Michael Perez-Cisneros provided us with the right sound, and we couldn’t be more happy and proud to have this project out for the world to hear.

What they said about ‘Breathe’

So good you might forget to breathe.
The two-time Sama-winner for Best Vocal Jazz rises to the occasion again   with her fourth release, Breathe. Tutu Puaone captivates you from the first track. Her warm, soaring vocals boast a love for music. Friendship, forbidden and lost love and are the thread of Puoane’s story. This theme of love resonates through her heartfelt tracks, showcasing her compositional abilities. With each well-written track, standout piano chord structures by Ewout Perreux are well placed, brilliantly adding to her voice, thereby taking you to a musical high. Influences of South African legends Bheki Mseleku and Abdullah Ibrahim come through strongly. It’s a must-have album for any jazz purist. -Tina George (www.iol.co.za 26.06.2012)

 

Voilà un album qui fait du bien. Un album d’amour (“Most songs on this planet are about love. This album is no different”, dit la pochette). Un album de musiques apaisées, sereines chantées avec beaucoup de foi en anglais ou en sotho par Tutu Puoane, jouées avec beaucoup de présence par Ewout Pierreux (piano), Nicolas Thys (contrebasse) et Lieven Venken (batterie) et produites avec beaucoup de talent par Michael Perez-Cisneros à New York. C’est simplement beau sans jamais tomber dans la mièvrerie. Et ça réchauffe joliment les coeurs.
– J.-C. V. (www.lesoir.be 23.05.2012)

 

Met heldere stem, soms klagend soms verhalend, vertolkt zij haar lyrische songs die zowel aan Abbey Lincoln en Billie Holiday als aan Dianne Reeves en Patricia Barber doen denken. De piano van Ewout past wonderwel bij haar zangstijl. Evenzo de baslijnen van Nic Thys en de drum van Lieven. De titeltrack ‘Breathe’ krijgt alzo quasi extra zuurstof. Op ‘Waiting For You’ lijkt de piano haar hartzeer te onderschrijven over hoe moeilijk het wel is om iets los te laten. De songs vloeien over als eb en vloed. De mooiste zijn deze die als het ware uit eigen beleving zijn gepuurd, zoals het tedere ‘Her Beauty’, tegelijk slaap- en liefdeslied voor haar dochtertje Mpho. Nog mooier is ‘Love Ends’ met subliem pianospel, waarin de rafels van de ziel worden blootgelegd. De zang van Nontuthuzelo Puoane gedijt zowel in het soulvolle universum van Afrikaanse als Europese muzikanten oplichtend in eenzelfde gevoelsstroom.
-Marcie (www.rootstime.be)

 

De Belgisch-Zuid-Afrikaanse Puoane zoekt haar eigen weg, tussen klassieke jazzzang, haar Zuid-Afrikaanse roots en singer-songwriters in” (…) “‘Through the years’, een ontroerende song van Abbey Lincoln en Mseleku, zit Puoane als gegoten. In ‘Her beauty’ vindt ze een pad tussen een bluesy hymne en wiegende Zuid-Afrikaanse klanken. Ze is op haar best als haar stem in trage tempo’s helder en gaaf opbloeit, zoals in ‘Waiting for you’. Puoane is omringd door een knap trio met een vaak intense Pierreux op piano. (****)
– Karel Van Keymeulen (De Standaard, 02.06.2012)

 

De nieuwe songs van pianist en echtgenoot Ewout Pierreux, de uitstekende bassist Nicolas Thys en de in New York residerende drummer Lieven Venken zijn Puoane op het lijf geschreven. Warmbloedige jazz met een zeer Afrikaanse toets, die een diepe verbondenheid met Zuid-Afrika ademt.
– Het Nieuwsblad, 02.06.2012

 

(…)bij dit kwartet telt vooral dat het geheel meer is dan de som van de delen. Een altijd schitterende Nic Thys brengt vier prachtige songs in en ook rots-in-de-branding Lieven Venken tekent voor de compositie. Tutu zorgde voor de passende teksten. De harmonische interactie en good spirit in deze opnames laten niet onberoerd. Met Breathe bewijst Tutu Puoane haar authentieke, diepgewortelde stem(pel), die hen raakt die ervoor open staan.”
– Bernard Lefèvre (www.jazzmozaiek.be 02.06.2012)


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2010 was an exciting year for Tutu Puoane. Her sophomore album ‘Quiet Now’ won the prestigious SAMA Award and one of her biggest dreams came true, she released an album, her third, with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra; Mama Africa! Mama Africa pays tribute to South Africa’s biggest musical icon, the late great Miriam Makeba. This album was released in South Africa in October 2010

What they said about ‘Mama Africa’

Mama Africa is een degelijke, goed gemusiceerde jazzplaat waarin Zuid-Afrikaanse liederen een geheel nieuwe uitgangspositie krijgen. Door de stem van Puoane vergeet je soms even dat je naar pure jazz aan het luisteren bent. Door haar blijft het de muziek van Zuid-Afrika die we hier horen en krijgt Makeba vanuit het hiernamaals weer een stem.
(www.noborderz.nl, March 2010)

 

De cd Mama Africa klinkt vol en kleurrijk, in de traditie van het Brussels Jazz Orchestra. De band speelt met veel gevoel voor detail een gevarieerde selectie van songs. De wisselwerking tussen stem en orkest, met puntige solo’s, vurige passages en krachtig ensemblewerk, klinkt overtuigend.
(De Standaard, Belgium, 10 March 2010)

 

Zeven verschillende arrangeurs (bijna allemaal BJO-muzikanten) namen deze liederen onder handen en schreven er doorwrochte en indrukwekkende arrangementen voor. De uitvoering is prachtig, zoals we dat van het BJO gewoon zijn: rijke kleurschakeringen tot in de kleinste details, indrukwekkende tuti en fijne soli. Voor Puoane meteen een hele opgave om overeind te blijven, maar haar stem doorstaat de test met glans.
(De Morgen, Belgium, 22 February 2010)

 

Het Belgische orkest, onder leiding van dirigent-saxofonist-fluitist Frank Vaganee, volgt Tutu als een imposante bruidssleep in een selectie prachtig gearrangeerde Zuid-Afrikaanse songs. Gehuld in een swingende jazzoutfit zijn die songs soms opzwepend, nemen de gedaante aan van een romantische ballad, of grijpen terug op de traditionele Xhosa-muziek. (Telegraaf, the Netherlands, ****)


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SAMA Award wining album ‘Quiet Now’ is Tutu Puoane’s sophomore offering. It was recorded in one of the best studios in Europe, Fattoria Musica in Osnabrük, Germany in April of 2009 by one of the best sound engineers from Holland, Chris Weeda. This time around Tutu features an all Belgian trio consisting of her partner in music and life, Ewout Pierreux on piano, Nicolas Thys on bass and Lieven Venken on drums. Both Thys and Venken have lived for several years in New York City and they bring that energetic vibe and groove to the music.

What they said about ‘Quiet Now’

A STUNNING example of the art of jazz song, rendered in a South African accent, and very exquisite too. ‘Pure’ is the only word for Puoane’s voice, which is warm and expressive, and imbued with a great depth of feeling. – Al Brownlee, *****
(www.citylife.co.uk)

 

The winning CD is Titled Quiet Now, after the song composed by van Poll, which she sings with heartfelt sincerity. He has helped her all the way though her career, and I know how grateful she is to him. van Poll is very liberal with his time, and often money, in helping young talent. Her voice is as pure as a stream after the rain. Her phrasing is subtle and her repertoire moves from McCoy Tyner’s “You Taught My Heart To Sing” to Joni Mitchell’s “I Don’t Know Where I Stand” to originals, some with subtle, yet deep African roots. The backing trio of Pierreux, bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Lieven Venken are sympathetic in their accompaniment and inventive in their solo spots. Each track has a freshness in the way Puoane tells her message of love and peace. Quiet Now is a worthy winner (SAMA award 2010) and will set the standard for next year. – Don Albert (trad jazz jury member SAMA awards)
www.newstimes.co.za

 

It’s hard, beyond the spine-chilling creativity of Hlopha Bophelo, to select standout tracks. On different tracks, we hear Puoane’s intense swing sensibility; her almost Ray Charles-ish gift for blending gospel feel and jazz imagination; her soft, carefully thought way through a ballad and her joyous ascent of faster tempos. While Puoane’s Belgian base and European sidemen may bar her from SAMA nominations, it will take a quite remarkable release between now and year-end to displace this as unquestionably the South African jazz album of the year. -Gwen Ansell (www.businessday.co.za 1.01.2009)

 

‘Daar waar die link [naar Zuid-Afrika] het duidelijkst is, klinkt ze op haar best. Luister vooral naar ‘Hlompha Bophelo’ en ‘Mpho’, telkens prachtig ondersteund door het trio van pianist Ewout Pierreux. Vooral de ingetogen hymne ‘Mpho’, met onder meer een beeldige bassolo, heeft alles om een klassieker te worden.’ (cd of the week)
De Morgen.

 

The name of the CD is Quiet Now. Puoane has a distinct, pure voice and her phrasing is subtle against the superlative backing from pianist Ewout Pierreux, bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Lieven Venken. Not only are they good musicians but they accompany with warm feeling, coating the vocals, or upping the ante when called upon. Solo-wise, each steps up to the plate and hits home runs. Quiet Now is a CD to listen to and savour. The main message is love and peace, but not delivered in a saccharine way. Hold hands with your partner and listen. The variety of the music and its freshness makes this 11-track CD a little gem. (Don Albert, South Africa)
Financial Mail.


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Tutu released her debut album Song in May of 2007, with a small Ducth label, Saphrane. She recorded Song with her trusted working trio of three years, consisting of the talented Belgian pianist Ewout Pierreux , who is fastly becoming a household name in the Belgian Jazz scene and is also one of Toots Thielemans favorite accompanists, the young Dutch drummer Jasper Van Hulten, who is the regular drummer for the Dutch trumpet player, Eric Vloeimans, and also from the Netherlands, the bassist Guus Bakker. The album also features the great Belgian trumpeter Bert Joris, Dutch saxophonist Mete Erker and Belgian guitarist Geert Hellings.

What they said about “Song”

Tutu Puoane stands out courtesy both of her understated but consistently affecting voice (an intimate, pure sound with just the right amount of tremolo) and of her range of material, which unaffectedly embraces everything from the ‘hip’ jazz of Bob Dorough, through the unashamed emotionalism of the torch song (‘He Needs Me’) and the pep of the reworked standard (an intriguingly rejigged ‘You are My Sunshine’), to the grace of traditional material (‘Ke A Go Leboga’). She also pays, on this subtly compelling album, a convincing visit to one of Joni Mitchell’s most affecting songs, ‘A Case of You’, personalizing it by substituting ‘Africa’ for ‘Canada’ in its second verse. Versatile without being contrivedly eclectic, and profoundly emotional without resorting to undue dramatics, Tutu Puoane is a singer to watch. – (Chris Parker, october. 2007, www.vortexjazz.co.uk)

 

Tutu Puoane already enjoys quite a reputation beyond her South African home, especially in Belgium and the Netherlands. Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Joni Mitchell are her idols and to those the 28 year old can best be compared in sound and phrasing. Her alto voice is gentle but definite, not sweetish like with most of the new starlets recently. This debut album raises hope that Tutu’s talent will be elaborated further by and by and with care. A solid basis has been laid, that’s for sure. (www.global-mojo.com)

 

Sometimes the unexpected happens, you hear a CD and it surprises you calmly yet powerfully. That was the case with jazz vocalist TuTu Puoane’s Song. The vocal selections were complete to perfection. I would be hard press to suggest a more perfect CD to jazz listeners. This is Ms. Puoane’s first solo album with her own quartet; yet she has received numerous awards from her Country in South Africa and has toured extensively in Europe. The selections feature pianist Ewout Pierreux, drummer Jasper Van Hulten and bassist Guus Bakker.You are greeted by “Just About Everything,” which feels like a bright sunny day made complete with the one you love . It’s followed by “That’s All,” a song that strolls gently along with the expression of geniune delight. You can almost feel the connection with the start of a new romance in “For the Time Being”. “Rejoice” is a song that defines triumph, joy, and freedom. There is pure elegance in Tutu’s rendition of “He Needs Me”, followed by the alto saxophonist as he sings the sun up in “You Are My Sunshine.” As we listen to “Mango Picker,” “Song,” In the Case of You,” and “Ke A Go Leboga ( I thank you),” we know that Tutu Puoane has put together a beautiful collection of jazz material.- (Beatrice Richardson: www.jazzreview.com)

 

Everybody who regularly checks out the jazz scene in Belgium and the Netherlands will most probably have heard about the young south african vocalist Tutu Puoane. You might have seen her perform with the famous Brussels Jazz Orchestra, the Frits Bayens Big Band or with her own trio, consisting of young and talented musicians Ewout Pierreux (piano, B), Guus Bakker (bass, NL) and Jasper Van Hulten (drums, NL). This is also the basic line-up for her brand new record, extended with some guitar (Geert Hellings, B), tenor saxophone (Mete Erker, NL) and trumpet (Bert Joris, B) for a few tracks. With such class of accompaniment, one expects nothing less but a great record and that’s exactly what’s being delivered. Tutu tackles 11 tunes with great skill and feeling, from the classic You’re My Sunshine to Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You, from the african traditional Ke A Go Leboga to Bert Joris’ For The Time Being and Song by Jeroen Van Vliet. Tutu whispers and talks, she scats like Ella and sings like Nina, bringing to us an impressive debut. I cannot claim to be a seasoned jazz critic, but I do know when music touches me or not. And, in this case, I was moved from the very first time, and I still am after twelve/thirteen listening rounds… beautiful, just beautiful. I think Tutu Puoane is on her way to become a very big star”.- (Dani Heyvaert: june 2007 MazzMuzikas)

 

South Africa has a plethora of decent young female singers but, very few of them are jazz singers. Examples range from the obviously disqualified — those with uncertain pitch and no swing — to the borderline cases who might be there if they ever showed any interest in improvising, re-imagining a well-worn song and exploring the multiple ways words and notes can be rephrased to make us hear them afresh. The ancestry of this kind of singing goes back to the African heritage in jazz and to traditional extended vocalising that made the human voice an instrument producing imaginatively colored sounds as well as pretty lyrics. And, however pretty their lyrics, that ancestry spices the singing of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and escapes to run free in Betty Carter and Nancy Wilson. Its elder mothers also include Sheila Jordan in the US, and Britain’s Norma Winstone and Maggie Nichols. Jordan taught Yelena Revishin who, during her tenure at the University of Cape Town, passed the torch on to, among others, Tutu Puoane. – (Gwen Ansell: april 2008 BusinessDay)