Boston’s Miss Tess Moves to Brooklyn

Where have all the musical flowers gone? Probably Brooklyn. At least that’s where local folk/jazz/indy great Miss Tess has taken her “modern vintage” style as of New Year’s Day. She left with a bang.

 “We had a fantastic New Year’s Eve, perhaps the best ever,” exclaimed Tess in a dispatch to her mailing list. “We played at Symphony Hall in Boston, got to watch the Boston Pops play with Amanda Palmer [formerly of the Dresden Dolls], saw lots of balloons drop from the ceiling as we all sang "We Are The Champions" at the stroke of midnight, and then I moved to Brooklyn on New Years Day. Hello New York!” (video above)

Miss Tess, whom Palmer had requested as one of her opening acts for New Years, has been a fixture of the Cambridge/Somerville scene for four years. Mingling jazz standards with original tunes, Tess assembled a changing line-up of first-rate jazz musicians, often culled from the New England Conservatory of Music, to serve as her “Bon Ton Parade.”

 “I will miss some of my favorite local performers and places like Toad,
Lizard Lounge and Atwoods, where I could go and run into a bunch of friends,” said Tess in an email interview. “I will not miss Boston weather.”

While she might not find much warmer climes in Brooklyn, it feels like the right move for the time and she is excited about the change.

“There’s a lot going on in Brooklyn as far as creative arts go—many places to play, and creative opportunities beyond solely performing. Also, my band moved there a couple months ago.”

Tess is in fact setting up camp with Sweet and Low-Down band mate (and formidable jazz vocalist in her own right) Rachel Price, as well as Mike Calabrese, the current Bon Ton drummer. While weekly stands at the beloved pub venues of the Boston folk scene are behind her now, Miss Tess, is wasting no time before starting another tour and will be back in town as early as January 21.  She will play Club Passim in Cambridge for one of local folk great, Alastair Moock’s, “Pastures of Plenty” round robins and then the following night, will play a set of vintage dance tunes at Boston Swing Central. Her latest CD, released at the Lizard Lounge in December, is Darling, Oh Darling.

— Jason Rabin