GRANTHAM, N.H., March 19, 2019 – For its 2018-2019 season finale, the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon (JOSA) Series welcomes Greta Matassa, a dynamic vocalist from the Seattle jazz scene, for a performance on April 7th at the Center at Eastman.
Now in its 27th season, JOSA brings internationally acclaimed jazz musicians – backed up by pianist Bill Wightman and the JOSA Ensemble – to the Upper Valley every other Sunday from December to April. These performances give New Hampshire audiences rare opportunities to experience exciting and spontaneous jazz sessions led by some of the nation’s most talented jazz artists.
Greta Matassa grew up in a family immersed in jazz music, but she never took music lessons. Instead, she learned by listening to records from the thirties and forties, early Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and instrumentalists like Dizzy Gillespie and Art Farmer.
“My dad had a lot of West Coast jazz, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond,” Matassa says. “I listened to them, but I focused on the singers. I learned by singing along with them.”
So strong was Matassa’s desire to perform that she left high school at age 17 to begin her singing career. Initially, she performed all kinds of music – rock, top 40, and jazz – at clubs, weddings and other events. Eventually she connected to jazz artists and big bands around the Pacific Northwest and began performing with them, emerging as one of the region’s most distinctive and captivating voices on the jazz scene.
Matassa has been voted Northwest Vocalist of the Year by the readership of Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Magazine in seven of the past 15 years and been inducted into Earshot’s Hall of Fame. Seattle Times critic Misha Berson calls Matassa a “jazz vocal genius and chameleon” who can sound “husky or crisp, ebullient or wailing, girlish or jaded.”
Jim Wilke, host of the Seattle’s syndicated “Jazz after Hours” radio program, praises Matassa’s versatility. “She has a fearlessness in approaching material that makes her seem like an instrumentalist in a jam session.”
Today Matassa is a seasoned club performer who enjoys performing standards from the Great American Songbook in her own contemporary scat style. She has produced 17 recordings but she thrives on connecting to live audiences, often encouraging them to suggest songs for her to play. “I like the spontaneity of having something thrown at me, someone saying, ‘here, field this, and see what you can do with it,’” Matassa says, which allows her and the band to make up their own arrangements.
JOSA shows are held at the Center at Eastman in Grantham, N. H., from 4 to 7 PM., with doors opening at 3 PM. A bistro menu and full beverage selection is offered during all performances by the award-winning restaurant, Bistro Nouveau. Tickets are $20 for adults; $18 for seniors (62+) and students (-17).
To reserve tickets for JOSA performances, call the Wightsteeple Box Office at 603.763.8732 or 603.381.1662 (cell); email email@example.com; or visit www.josajazz.com. For reservations after 2 PM on the day of the show, call the Center at Eastman at 603.863.8000.