"Come over here and listen..."
Review in the L.A. Jazz Scene Newspaper
The cover of this debut CD shows a beautiful and sexy young woman giving a look like “Come over here and listen to what I have to say to you…” And from the beginning, I’m listening…and you will be too. All music and lyrics by Contessa Black (aka Tessa Hendrie) shows a young woman with an old soul who sings the Blues, with Jazz sensibilities. Obviously comfortable with her solid band, they all make magic together, with dynamics, solid time feel, and musical playing. Cut #4 “Feelin Low, Feelin Weak” reminds one of of an old Americana gospel tune, starting a capella, then sliding into a minor groove with a great bass line, percussive drums and a moaning soprano sax, with haunting low background vocals at the end. Contessa has a raw sound, with a sense of honesty, that makes you want to see her perform live. The songs have strong messages, like #6“Mature Enough” and #7 (Hope you and your guitar have fun) “Sharing the Bedroom”. Both have great grooves that you can move to, with moments of fun from the band in arrangements that Tessa and bassist Jonathan Richards put together. #8 “No Mercy”, a blues ballad, actually an ode to her own body, which has put Contessa through a rough time of it for the last 7 years. Through the help of family, friends, certain doctors, and her own determinism, she’s pulled through the difficulties and accomplished making her first CD; many years in the developing. Ending this CD is “I Really Don’t Like You”, the first song Contessa ever wrote. Just bass and guitar accompaniment makes this a very direct and plaintiff song. A great first CD! Very truthful, outspoken, musical, a great listen, from beginning to end; especially for those who favor the Blues! Cathy Segal-Garcia/L.A. Jazz Scene/November issue