Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Straight-ahead jazz vocalist Greta Matassa is a seasoned club performer with a bent toward Great American Songbook standards and often sings and improvises in a contemporary scat style. A Seattle native, Matassa was introduced to jazz by her parents, and by the time she was in high school was singing and studying her craft by listening to records. In her junior year, Matassa dropped out of high school and moved to Oregon, where she performed as half of a lounge duo with a pianist. Eventually, Matassa moved back to Seattle and, after a brief period performing with a few metal and rock bands, found her way into the jazz scene by performing at weddings and other events. It was during this time that Matassa met and performed with such local Seattle musicians as pianist Marc Seales and guitarist Michael Powers. In 1989, Matassa's singing earned her a spot replacing vocalist Ernestine Anderson in a Pacific Northwest Ballet production based on the songs of Kurt Weill. The show ran for a decade and helped establish Matassa as a local name.
Although she had recorded an album in the mid-'90s and worked regularly, Matassa had taken a break from her solo career to raise her children. She returned to the limelight in 2001 with the release of All This and Heaven Too: Live at Bake's Place. Recorded at a local club, the album showcased Matassa's knack for interpreting lesser-known standards and drew favorable comparisons to such vocalists as June Christy, Carmen McRae, and others. Once again, Matassa found herself as a name act in the Northwest and a singer with an ever growing presence on the national jazz scene. Since then, Matassa has released several albums, including 2003's Two for the Road: Live at Bake's Place with guitarist Mimi Fox, 2005's Favorites from a Long Walk, 2007's Smiling Hour, and 2009's I Wanna Be Loved.