Sue Maskaleris in her debut CD titled "Unbreakable Heart" brings to the listening audience a new and wonderful jazz vocalist. She writes all of her music and lyrics and is a powerhouse of new jazz talent. For those who like Brazilian and contemporary jazz, Sue Maskaleris is a most welcome entertainer! Sue Maskaleris is also a gifted composer at the start of a bright and promising recording career, and she is enjoyable to listen to.
JazzReview.com:Sue, it is great to interview you! You have so many talents, where does one begin first! Could you share with our readers your early influences and how you got started? Did you come from a musical family?
Sue Maskaleris: "When I was three, I actually begged for piano lessons. A big man came to our house, looked at my hands and I guess, and thought I was too young. Years later, he came to one of my gigs in the village in New York City. My dad was a professional bassist with big bands before going into law. My mom played piano like Buddy Grecco. I started piano lessons at age four and violin at eight."
JazzReview.com:What is the magical spark that ignites your composing? What inspires you?
Sue Maskaleris: "That ever-evasive muse. I wish I could visit it more often! I wrote a tune about that called, 'Schmoozin' with the Muse' that talks about channeling it. 'Listen to the whisper of the ideas in your ear.' The whisper for me often comes from hearing great original music played live. The rare, but exciting exception is such as what happened when I wrote 'Child of Three.' The song was 'dictated' to me nearly in complete form in the middle of the night in a few minutes. It remains the most popular with my fans."
JazzReview.com:Who are some of your favorite composers?
Sue Maskaleris: "In Brazilian music, I would run the gamut from Ivan Lins to Hermeto Pascal, Toninho Horta and Egberto Gismonti. But, I'm just as fond of Chopin and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan)."
JazzReview.com:You seem at ease with musical instruments. Which is your favorite and why?
Sue Maskaleris: "For the moment, the nylon string guitar which I'm teaching myself to play Brazilian style. I love it since I can actually hold it in my arms, unlike the piano and hear it resonate and sing. But, my main axe without a doubt is that beast with 88 teeth."
JazzReview.com:You have had a struggle for recognition despite the fact you are blessed with many talents. Do you feel your debut CD "Unbreakable Heart" will be the door opener to a larger listening audience?
Sue Maskaleris: "If only talent led to success in the music business! Well, these original songs were tested live on the public for a long time, which is how I came to chose them for the CD. I think they are very strong compositions. I have had great success online at MP3.com where, 'No, But I Wish' reached #1 worldwide on the jazz vocal charts. The other songs all have been charting well for some time now. Judging from the mail I get from all over the world, I would say this CD is opening doors at last."
JazzReview.com:What is the background that made "Unbreakable Heart" a reality?
Sue Maskaleris: "I would say having interest from the major labels gave me faith in myself as an artist, along with the musical admiration from such great players as Eddie Gomez, Toninho Horta, Lenny White, Mark Murphy and Michal Urbaniak. I custom-cast each of them, and the other great players on my CD, according to song. Since Eddie worked with Bill Evans, it was a great thrill to have him play a poignant waltz melody reminiscent of Bill on the intro of 'Younger Dreams.' It's a beautiful solo out of my dreams. Likewise, the great Toninho Horta who worked with Milton Nascimento, sang vocalise on the intro of 'Never to Learn/Nunca Aprender,' a song inspired by Milton."
JazzReview.comWhat do you see as the role for women in jazz for this new century?
Sue Maskaleris: "As a member of the International Women in Jazz, I hope to see us hired more as leaders and sidemen. I see our role as equals in this century as I did in the last."
JazzReview.com:What advice and suggestions would you give to young jazz artists entering the field of contemporary jazz?
Sue Maskaleris: "Don't lose the day gig! Buy Ramen noodles, 3 bags for a buck! Seriously, you need multiple skills to survive in music. Learn to read well and transpose. Expand your listening horizon."
JazzReview.com:Where do you see yourself musically in five years?
Sue Maskaleris: "I am getting into film music right now. It would be great to be writing for orchestra, which I recently did, and combining it with the art of film. I also would like to keep writing and performing with different instrumentations. My next CD has a lot more odd-metered compositions from my Greek background. I want to explore that more too, plus work on the bass, violin and guitar."
JazzReview.com:Sue, it has been a pleasure talking with you. Is there anything you would like to add at the close of this interview?
Sue Maskaleris: "Well, I invite the readers to check out my website at http://www.suemask.com and to order the CD at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/maskaleris and soon at www.CDNOW.com. Thanks for your great review and this interview. I'd like to close with a quote from 'Younger Dreams' from my CD:
'Now with a calmer eye,
I see through a new perspective,
The world and I keep changing,
From how we used to be,
Still I won't let my dreams unravel,
'Til I've exhausted every path untravelled,
To my younger dreams.'