I Wanna Be Loved is Greta Matassa‘s eighth CD under her own name and the sixteenth album of her career. It brings her together with a fascinating variety of songs and an array of distinguished musicians. This is Greta‘s first collaboration with the gifted pianist and arranger Tamir Hendelman and the beginning of her association with a vibrant new label, Resonance Records.
Matassa‘s performance travels have taken her as far Russia and Singapore. She is called to Los Angeles for recording sessions. But she developed her distinctive way with a song in the land of mountains, salmon and hi-tech and has the luxury of abundant work where she loves to live, in her native Pacific Northwest. Growing up on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, a short ferry ride from Seattle, she heard music that determined her direction in life.
The recordings Greta‘s parents played in the house were by singers and instrumentalists bound to make impressions on a girl with a gift for melody. She and her family listened to Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Fred Astaire, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. ―Anita O‘Day,‖ she says, ―was a huge influence on me.― With her father, Greta prowled used record stores and grabbed any LP that looked interesting. That‘s how she heard and learned from less well-known singers who were nonetheless gifted and musical, among them Rita Reys, Marian Montgomery and Pam Gardner. She also listened to the jazz players in her dad‘s collection—among them Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. But it was the singers who captured her attention and her imagination. ―I loved Sinatra,‖ she says, ―and I still do. And Astaire; he phrased the way he danced; so effortless and light and classy. I liked his approach.‖ Deciding that she lacked interest in formal study, Greta learned by singing along with the singers who fascinated her, exploring how Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae got their sounds, singing in parallel with them for hours. ―I call it standing on the shoulders of giants,‖ she says. ―You sort of go along for the ride and see what it feels like.‖ As a teenager finally getting the chance to sing with rhythm sections, she began experimenting, throwing in a Fitzgerald lick here, a Vaughan lick there, ―at the same time struggling with how to become an individual, which is a lifelong endeavor.
Devoting more time and energy to music than study, Greta dropped out of high school as a junior and spent a year in Salem, Oregon, working with a pianist and singer named Tim Clark. On Clark‘s country club gig, she learned the ropes. ―He dressed me up, dyed my hair, put Lee press-on nails on me and had me sing ‗I Will Survive.‘‖ She survived a year. At seventeen, she left Clark and struck out on her own.
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