Katy Bourne


Scat Happy with Greta!

POSTED ON November 09, 2010 | POSTED IN: My Blog | One Comment

Katy & Greta, singing together on Greta's birthday

A few weeks ago, I posted about a scat workshop that I was starting with my teacher Greta Matassa. The four- week run of the workshop is complete and we are doing a showcase performance at Tula’s tomorrow night. Oh baby, what a fun we’ve had!

Greta is pretty much known around these parts as the high priestess of vocal jazz. She deserves the status; she’s dedicated her life to perfecting her craft and her talent is off the hook. But Greta is also a really sharp teacher. Her own lifelong study of the vocal jazz greats has been exhaustive. With open ears, determination and intelligence, Greta has climbed inside the music and has excavated all the techniques, nuances, tricks and methodology that are critical for successful jazz singing.  She readily and enthusiastically shares these tools with her students. Greta is also an outstanding diagnostician and can quickly figure out what’s not working and make a ready suggestion that is usually right on target for fixing the problem. Of course, she does all of this with a playful, relaxed style and a whole lot of humor, something we can never have too much of.

For the scat workshop, Greta dismantled the process of scat singing. It was like she took an engine apart on the kitchen table, showed us all the pieces and what they do and then explained how they all function together. Her next step was to have us work on the parts individually before putting them back together again and blasting off on our own scat solos. On top of all this, Greta also provided support materials (CD’s, charts, etc.) that we could take home to practice with. Within the first week or two of the workshop, everyone picked a few songs from a list of about ten. We then went to town applying our newfound scat techniques to these select tunes, making them ready for tomorrow night’s showcase.

For my money, I couldn’t have asked for a better workshop. I learned a lot and I had a ton of fun. I love scat singing but have always been hungry for ways to improve. Greta definitely delivered. I enjoyed our weekly sessions together (There were about half a dozen participants.) and absorbed a lot just by watching Greta work with other people in the workshop. And I really can’t stress the fun factor enough. The sessions were loose, and I think everyone felt comfortable trying new things and, at times, stumbling along the way. It was a warm, supportive vibe all around. I love hanging out and talking about music with Greta and I enjoyed how the flow of the sessions lent themselves to some really great discussions. (And many hearty laughs as well.)

One thing I liked about this workshop was that I quickly assimilated new tools that I was able to immediately apply in gig situations. I’m pretty confident that this workshop has improved my scat chops considerably, or at the very least, I know it has boosted my confidence. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding….or the scatting. As I mentioned earlier, we are having our workshop showcase tomorrow night. (Wednesday, November 10) at Tula’s. My fellow singers and I will be performing four songs each along with a rhythm section. Of course, we’ll be scatting up a storm. Drop by and check us out. We’ll be having fun. Join us!

I give Greta’s scat workshop a big fat thumbs up! If you’re even remotely interested in beefing up your scat chops, look no further. Give Greta a hollah!

Our showcase performance will be at 7pm on Wednesday, November 10th. Tula’s is located at 2214 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121. Phone is 206-443-4221.

Comments

One response to “Scat Happy with Greta!”

  1. Jen O says:

    Great show! I love seeing you sing with Greta. The two of you are quite a pair. Your “cracked” out Secret Love was also a hit. I hope to make a show soon.

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Katy Bourne is a Jazz Singer and Writer.