Quiet Now – Tutu Puoane

Tutu Puoane was born in the Republic of South Africa, but has been living in Belgium for several years. The fame of this young jazz-singer is on the rise, with her own quartet as well as and other projects.

Song, her first album, was released two years ago and met with acclaim from media and audience alike. In 2008 the album was released in South Africa, Japan and Thailand. Due to this international success, new lyrics and scores were written for a new, second cd. In April 2009, Tutu went into the studio together with Ewout Pierreux (piano), Nicolas Thys (bass) and Lieven Venken (drums) at Fattoria Musica (Osnabrück, Germany), under the supervision of Chris Weeda, one of the best sound engineers in The Netherlands.

The new album is called Quiet Now, and contains more original repertoire than Tutu’s debut. Most of the songs were written by Ewout Pierreux and Nicolas Thys, with lyrics both in English and Sepedi (Tutu’s mother tongue). Additionally the quartet recorded three covers by McCoy Tyner, Mark Fransman (great South African pianist and saxophone player) and Joni Mitchell.

Since her first album Tutu’s voice has become stronger and more expressive. Quiet Now is a gem, a mature and very personal statement. The quartet can hardly wait to introduce it to the world.

Winner of the 2010 SAMA Award for best classical jazz album!

International reviews

‘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.'( Manchester Evening News, *****)

At times highly personal and emotional, Quiet Now is an extraordinary work of beauty, highly recommended. (Library Bookwatch, James A. Cox, May, 2010)

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) (

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. (Financial Mail, Don Albert, South Africa)

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. (Business Day, Gwen Ansell, 1/1/0/09)

Dutch reviews

‘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.’ (De Morgen)

‘Klassieke jazz treft soulvolle Motown en neemt in één beweging gospel, soul en Afrikaanse pop mee: niet qua sound (die blijft zuiverakoestisch), maar wel in de melodie- en de harmonievoering.’ (Kwadratuur)

‘Tutu Puone heeft een glasheldere stem, waar ze eigenlijk alles mee kan; ‘she has a voice to burn’ zouden ze in de VS zeggen. Ze koos stukken, die niet zo bekend zijn maar wel mooie melodieën bezitten. Alleen Joni Mitchells ‘I don’t Know Where I Stand’ klinkt – met een fraaie intro op bas van Nicolas Thys – wat meer familiar.’ (Jazzism)