The Melissa Kassel Group
May 4, 2013
The Concord Conservatory of Music is pleased to announce the final performance of this seasons free Faculty Concert Series, The Melissa Kassel Group, on Saturday, May 4th at 7 pm. Vocalist, composer and music educator Melissa Kassel is active in a variety of musical settings throughout the United States. She has performed and recorded with jazz greats such as, Tim Ray, Bob Gullotti, and many other outstanding musicians. She is known for her unique style and ability to transform a song into a fresh and personal statement.
Her first C.D. entitled “Melissa Kassel Quintet, Live at the Acton Jazz Café”, top ten charted in many cities in the United States and received worldwide recognition. Melissa Kassel was nominated as “Best Jazz Vocalist” in the 1998 Boston Music Awards. Ms. Kassel received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Massachusetts. She continued her studies in a Master’s Program at the New England Conservatory of Music. She has studied rhythm, improvisation and composition with great masters such as Charlie Banacos and Joe Maneri. She continues her vocal studies with Craig Wich.
In August 2010 Kevin Lowenthal of the Boston Globe wrote, “The Boston-based vocalist [Melissa Kassel] rarely, if ever, takes the standard approach to standards. Where the typical singer shouts, she might whisper; a passage usually taken quickly, she may stretch out like taffy. Yet it’s all in service to the improvisational moment being shared with her top-notch band.” Jazz critic Harvey Pekar said, “…She’s among the best jazz vocalists to emerge in years.”
In addition to CCM faculty member, Melissa Kassel, the group is a powerhouse of talented Boston Jazz performers, including Doug Johnson, piano; Phil Grenadier, trumpet; John Funkhouser, bass; and Austin McMahon on drums.
Doug Johnson is a jazz and classical pianist who has performed with Esperanza Spaulding and Grace Kellyy. He teaches at the Berklee College of Music and Wellesley College. Trumpeter Phil Grenadier has played on 50 CD’s including the Melissa Kassel Quintet release: “Live at the Acton Jazz Cafe”. From 2007-2009 he toured the world with guitarist John Scofield. Bassist John Funkhouser is in demand as a jazz bassist and pianist, participating in an array of musical projects with the Northeast's most accomplished and creative musicians. He has shared the stage with such luminaries as Grammy nominees Luciana Souza and Tierney Sutton, Steve gadd, and many others. He was a featured soloist with the MIT Wind Ensemble's world premier of Mark Harvey's magnum opus, "Beyond". Drummer Austin McMahon has accompanied notable names in the jazz world including saxophonists: Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, David Liebman & George Garzone. He’s a mainstay in Warner Brothers Jazz vocalist Lea Delaria’s quartet and has performed with the Joe Davidian trio as an opening act for Grammy award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves and Jane Monheit.
Stu Vandermark of “Boston Jazz Scene”, reviewing the May 29, 2010 show at the Lily Pad, wrote, “… The group cranked it up another level on that night. Everyone seemed to be on fire (in the best sense). Melissa’s voice was in top form. And the programming (particularly in terms of thematic variety and tempo) was outstanding. If there was anyone in the audience who thinks he didn’t get his money’s worth, he just wasn’t listening...”
The concert series is made possible in part by the generous funding from Newbury Court and the Concord Cultural Council. For more information about the CCM Free Concert Series please call CCM at 978-369-0010.
Concord Conservatory of Music
Founded in 2005, the Concord Conservatory of Music is an energetic community of people who are deepening their involvement with music education. As a non-profit school, CCM serves Concord and the surrounding 15 communities. The mission of the CCM is to foster a sense of community through music by providing accessible high quality music education and performance opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. CCM’s vision is to provide a community center for high quality 21st century music instruction for all who desire it. For more information please visit www.concordconservatory.org.