Jazz event at Kent brings in heavy hitters

Complete with performances by two of Seattle’s most renowned jazz musicians, the Kent Senior Activities Center is kicking off its first-ever Evening of Jazz and Art event with a bang.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, June 24, 2008 3:40pm
  • Life
Greta Matassa

Greta Matassa

Free concert takes place Thursday

Complete with performances by two of Seattle’s most renowned jazz musicians, the Kent Senior Activities Center is kicking off its first-ever Evening of Jazz and Art event with a bang.

“It’s something new, something different, something we’ve never been done before,” said Helena Reynolds, program coordinator for the center.

Taking place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. June 26 on the south lawn of the center, located at 600 E. Smith St, the event will be a combination of performance and visual art available to the public at no charge. Free food provided by Farrington Court and Stafford Suites also are available as supplies last.

The event will feature performances by Northwest jazz scene regulars Michael Powers and Greta Matassa and piano interludes by Richard Dean. An art show featuring local works will also be on display.

Guitarist Powers will use the show as one of a series of release parties for his newest album, “20 Songs for 20 Years,” celebrating two decades of playing guitar.

According to his Web site, www.michaelpowersmusic.com, the artist has released 11 albums DVDs during his years as performer. He has also performed, recorded or shared billings with music greats Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles and Gladys Knight.

On the site, he says his music spans a number of genres in addition to jazz.

“I learned how to play by sitting in at as many places as I could, developing eclectic tastes by playing with all types of bands: jazz, rock, blues, R&B, and Top 40,” a statement from Powers says on the site. “I wanted to learn how to play any kind of music that featured a guitar as a solo voice.”

Prominent Seattle jazz vocalist Greta Matassa also will be featured at the Kent music event. The singer has achieved wide acclaim in the Northwest, being voted best jazz vocalist in the region four times by the readers of Seattle jazz magazine “Earshot.”

According to the artist’s Web site, www.gretamatassa.com, Matassa says her passion for jazz started at a young age.

“Growing up, my parents were big jazz fans, and we had a lot of jazz music around the house,” a statement from Matassa reads on the site. “They were happy to encourage my interest in music.”

On the site, she lists Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire as her greatest musical influences.

Matassa has released seven albums and DVDs during her career, including her most recent, “The Smiling Hour.”

The Kent event is focused on the jazz genre to attract people of all ages, Reynolds said, and she hopes a variety of community members will attend.

“Jazz transcends generations, so all ages are welcome,” Reynolds said. “We’d especially like grandparents to bring their grandchildren with them to all enjoy this together.”

For more information about the event, call 253-856-5164. For information about Michael Powers and Greta Matassa, visit their Web sites.

An Evening of Jazz and Art

What: Arts event featuring jazz musicians Michael Powers and Greta Matassa

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. June 26

Where: Kent Senior Activities Center, 600 E. Smith St.

Information: 253-856-5164

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