Greta Matassa
shim shim shim

Greta Matassa, "All This and Heaven Too–Live At Bake's Place"

by Tony Bonjorno, Seattle Gay News

Seattle native and jazz vocal genius Greta Matassa displays her impressive talent on her new, live recording, All This and Heaven Too. Starting her career in the 1970s singing with blues and rock bands, Ms. Matassa began to concentrate on jazz, recording two albums with local big band, The Jazz Police, before releasing her first album as band leader in 1991. Since then, she has been honored four times by the readers of Earshot, the Seattle jazz magazine, as best Northwest Jazz Vocalist.

An amazing performer with a vocal style that is fearless, full of life and expression, a jazz vocal hero able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Greta Matassa will sing her way into your heart with her first recording since 1994, All This and Heaven Too–Live At Bake's Place. With a sense for rhythmic improvisation a la Ella Fitzgerald and an equally compelling flare for the romantic ballad or heartbreaking blues, Ms. Matassa takes classic tunes like "Crazy He Calls Me," "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance," or "Close Your Eyes," touching them with the gusto of her singing, reviving them with her consummate ability and uniquely uninhibited stylings.

Worthy of the many comparisons to Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Diane Schuur, Aretha Franklin and even Judy Garland, Matassa moves through bebop and ballad with equal ability, superb technique and accessible emotion, transmitting her understanding of a song. Amazingly versatile, sometimes lively and humorous, sometimes moving and introspective, Greta Matassa treats each piece as a new canvas, giving it an individual palate of color and feeling.

All This and Heaven Too opens with a straightforward, almost autobiographical sounding "Why Try to Change Me Now?" which morphs into a touching version of "Crazy He Calls Me." Becoming more seductive and salacious with the sliding of brushes and the sweet support of understated vibraphone and piano, Matassa sings a husky and lush version of "Come Rain or Come Shine."

The title track opens with an improv duet between Matassa and Clipper Anderson on bass that sets the stage for a swing that keeps moving through the almost seven-minute track. With "Ruby" Matassa sings of the devastating power of love with heartrending emotion, leaving an ache for more. Matassa handles "Blue Prelude" with an improvised power and passion that is at once, without hesitation and understated. Moving into the torch ballad style, Matassa sings the opening to "I Never Had a Chance/I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" with a free and easy, rubato style that moves into an upbeat celebration of unrequited love.

With heartbroken tones, she sings the Rogers and Hart standard, "He Was Too Good to Me," then changes mood again with a zippy beat and the seduction of "You and the Night and the Music." Back to the ballad with the Gershwin/Weill collaboration, "My Ship" finishing with a mid-tempo, Jack Brownlow arrangement of "Close your Eyes," a perfect ending to an amazing musical journey.

Proving that like is attracted to like, Ms. Matassa is accompanied by some very fine local talents including the piano prowess of Randy Halberstadt, the rhythmic mastery of Mark Ivester on drums and Clipper Anderson on bass, not to mention the dulcet tones of Susan Pascal on the vibraphone. In collaboration, the band truly swings, bebops and breaks hearts with their excellent musicianship and synergistic ensemble musicianship.

Truly deserving of her growing reputation as a singer to revive the great vocal traditions of Holiday and Fitzgerald, Greta Matassa's All This and Heaven Too will stand as a testament to her vocal genius and extraordinary sense of style. To answer the musical question from "You and the Night and the Music," after the night and the music Greta sings, she will have you.



to TOP


subscribe to the mailing list

Copyright ©2016 Greta Matassa