Singer-songmaker Heather Masse is a rare artist with “lush velvety vocals, capable of melting butter in a Siberian winter” (All Music). She grew up in rural Maine and was trained at the New England Conservatory of Music as a jazz singer, she is steeped in the jazz tradition, which informs her distinct approach to singing folk, pop and bluegrass.
A member of the Billboard-charting folk group, The Wailin’ Jennys, she has performed at hundreds of venues across the world. She has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion,both as a solo performer and as a member of The Jennys. On the show, she has collaborated with artists such as Elvis Costello, Wynton Marsalis, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, and Emmylou Harris.
Heather has performed with the contemporary bluegrass band The Wayfaring Strangers, fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing, and in 2006, recorded an album with Joy Kills Sorrow, a contemporary stringband. She also released Tell Me Tonight with the Brooklyn-based collaboration Heather & the Barbarians.
In 2008, Ms. Masse released Many Moons, an EP of jazz-inspired folk duets with pianist Jed Wilson. She followed that up with her first full-length solo album, Bird Song. Her solo debut on Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records, the album showcased her luscious alto voice and her superb songwriting. The title track “Bird Song” won her 1st prize at the International Acoustic Music Awards, and in 2012 she also won a prestigious Juno Award for Bright Morning Stars, her latest recording with The Wailin’ Jennys.
Masse returned to her jazz roots in 2013 with Lock My Heart, an album of standards she recorded with piano legend Dick Hyman.
Masse continues to perform with the Wailin’ Jennys and can often be heard joining Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion.
At age 85, multiple Emmy Award-winning pianist, organist, arranger, music director and composer Dick Hyman is truly a music legend. Admired for his astounding versatility, he has written film scores, composed for orchestras, made countless concert appearances and recorded well over 100 albums under his own name. While developing a masterful facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Mr. Hyman has also investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz, recording the music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller. An official Yamaha artist, he has recorded duet albums with Ruby Braff, Ralph Sutton, Shelly Berg and others. Always an innovator, Mr. Hyman was one of the first to record on the Moog synthesizer, and his “Minotaur” landed on the Billboard Charts.
Mr. Hyman's concert compositions for orchestra include his Piano Concerto, Ragtime Fantasy, The Longest Blues in the World and From Chama to Cumbres by Steam, a work for orchestra, jazz combo and prerecorded railroad sounds. In a growing catalogue of chamber music compositions, his most recent pieces are Dances and Diversions for the Kinor String Quartet, which has also been played by the Shanghai Quartet. Mr. Hyman has been heard in duo-piano performances with Derek Smith, in Three-Piano Crossover (with Marian McPartland and the late Ruth Laredo) and in pops concerts under the direction of Doc Severinsen. For twenty years he served as artistic director for the acclaimed Jazz in July series at New York's 92nd Street Y. For much of the same period he was also “jazz advisor” for the annual Oregon Festival of American Music. In addition to his activities in the jazz and concert worlds, Mr. Hyman has had a prolific career in New York as a studio musician and won seven Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). He acted as music director for such television programs as Benny Goodman's final appearance (on PBS) and for In Performance at the White House. He is a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame, of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society.
A go-to artist for theater and film, Mr. Hyman was music director for Arthur Godfrey and orchestrator of the hit musical Sugar Babies. He has served as composer/arranger/conductor/pianist for over tenWoody Allen films, including Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says "I Love You,” Zelig and Purple Rose of Cairo. Other original scores have included Moonstruck, Scott Joplin-King of Ragtime, The Lemon Sisters and Alan and Naomi. He has composed and performed scores for top choreographers and dance companies, including Twyla Tharp, the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Company and the American Ballet Theater.
His new album with Heather Masse, Lock My Heart, is one of four projects scheduled for release during his 85th year. He joins his fiddler daughter Judy Hyman (of The Horse Flies, who also tours and records with Natalie Merchant) on Late Last Summer, an album of Judy’s original waltzes. He performs with clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski on an album to be released in 2013 on Victoria Records. Also this season, Hal Leonard releases Dick Hyman’s Century of Jazz Piano--Transcribed! which is based on Dick’s previously recorded material.