Jazz Favorites Susan Pascal with Gretta Metassa to Perform at Jazz Festival
“Echoing Rosie Clooney’s natural warmth and Nancy Wilson’s impeccable phrasing, Matassa moves from triumph to triumph”
In the Pacific Northwest, where she built her career, Greta Matassa wins wide acclaim; (seven) times, the readers of Earshot, the Seattle jazz magazine, have voted her the best jazz vocalist in the Northwest. Jim Wilke, the Seattle jazz maven and host of the syndicated “Jazz After Hours” radio program, praises her versatility. “She has a fearlessness in approaching material,” Wilke says, “that makes her like an instrumentalist in a jam session.” Seattle Times critic Misha Berson described Matassa as a vocal chameleon who “can sound husky or crisp, ebullient or wailing, girlish or jaded.”
Matassa says, “Growing up, my parents were big jazz fans and we had a lot of jazz music around the house. They were happy to encourage my interest in music. My father is a visual artist, and we used to spend hours talking about abstract expressionism and how that related to jazz.
We listened to all the great stuff. I really liked the music from the thirties and forties, early Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday. I used to listen to a lot of Fred Astaire, a lot of Frank Sinatra. I never took lessons. While I was teaching myself to sing, my dad and I haunted used record stores. He’d choose anybody he knew that he thought would be interesting, and we’d just pick some people we’d never heard of and bring them home.”
Her close connection to the audience is a vital reason for Matassa’s success. Lately, she has taken to letting the audience call the tune. She delights in encouraging her listeners to program an evening. It started, she said, when she was playing a club on Seattle’s Capitol Hill; with some trepidation, she asked for requests. To her surprise, the customers asked for songs by Billy Strayhorn.
About the Susan Pascal Quartet
Susan Pascal’s name is as recognizable on the Pacific Northwest jazz scene as the unique tone of the instrument she plays: the vibraphone. If you mention area vibraphonists, or listen to a CD produced by a local jazz musician and the recording includes a vibraphonist, chances are pretty good that Pascal’s name appears in the conversation or on the liner notes
Music has always been an important part of Pascal’s life. She was introduced to music in grade school, when a teacher in the local public school district provided percussion lessons. Pascal played the violin for awhile, but returned to percussion — specifically the marimba — after listening to her parents play Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass albums.
She went on to perform with her middle- and high-school bands in the Shoreline School District and explored classical percussion with the Seattle Youth Symphony. It was in high school that Pascal started to grow fond of jazz percussion. “For awhile there, I was thinking I would be a symphonic player,” she said. “But then when I started listening to jazz vibe stuff, like Gary Burton, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and that kind of stuff in high school, I got more interested in the jazz vibraphone.” It was at the University of Washington, where she initially set out to study classical percussion, that her fondness for jazz took hold. “I realized I was much more interested in jazz at that point,” she said.
Despite the vibraphone’s unique sound and unconventional reputation, Pascal has built an impressive music career — a career as amazing as the instrument she performs. “People will say, ‘I never saw that before. I never heard it in person before,'” she said. “Maybe they heard it on the radio. But when people see it, they’re really excited about it. On the vibes, I think that kinetic, visual thing is fun for people. It’s fun to watch.”
The Quartet includes:
- Darin Clendenin – piano
- Clipper Anderson – bass
- Mark Ivester – drums
The complete Festival line up can be found at http://www.highlineclassicjazz.com/
Tickets for the Highline Classic Jazz Festival are available now – $35.00, $30.00 for 60 yrs & older, Free for 18 yrs and younger.
Purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/218904 , at the Poverty Bay Wine Festival, March 2 – 4, at Landmark Event Center, and at the door.
The Highline Classic Jazz Festival is sponsored by: Cedarbrook Lodge & Copperleaf Restaurant, SoKing Internet Radio, New Balance Chiropractic, Sterling Savings Bank, Alaska Airlines, 4Culture and the City of Burien Parks and Recreation.
Here are some videos of Great in action: