When she wanted new Christmas songs, Greta Matassa knew just where to look: the past.
“What we did was find some songs that, for instance, Johnny Mathis had recorded and the Tijuana Brass had recorded that hadn’t made it into the standard Christmas list you always hear in the mall,” said the jazz singer, who’ll perform Saturday in Olympia. “They are beautiful tunes.”
The resulting songs are on Matassa’s new album, “And to All a Good Night.” Her holiday shows celebrate the release of the CD, which features vocals by her partner and bassist Clipper Anderson.
“The repertoire is not your usual group of songs,” JazzTimes’ Lee Mergner wrote in a review of the new disc. “This one may have to make an annual appearance in my household.”
Matassa hasn’t done a holiday album before, although she’s been doing seasonal shows for years. “When the holidays come around, pardon the phrase, I’m always kind of stuck doing the usual ones that everybody hears over and over again.”
At her shows Saturday, she will be doing some of the old favorites, in addition to the old-yet-new material from the likes of Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach. “You can’t really get through a Christmas show without doing ‘Chestnuts,’ and we are glad to do that,” she said.
Matassa has long had a reputation as an artist who lacked a national reputation only because she didn’t tour nationally, but she is changing that now.
“I’m going to be performing in Singapore for New Year’s Eve, at a jazz festival in Kauai in February, in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs and Palm Beach and at Dizzy’s Club in New York in April,” she said. “Especially with the economy the way it is, it’s nice to be able to get out of Dodge once in a while to play.”
Opportunities have opened up for Matassa since she signed with Resonance label, for which she recorded last year’s “I Wanna Be Loved.” Three more albums are forthcoming.
With local gigs harder to come by these days, this will be her first Olympia stop in nine months.
“It’s a bit of a homecoming,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the south end people.”