Five Questions With… Matt Dusk

JetSetJazz is the 11th studio album from Toronto vocalist Matt Dusk, which he describes as a tribute to a time when big-band swing was pop music, and all the airlines had plenty of legroom. The all-original collection is also in many ways homage to Frank Sinatra and his classic late 1950s period, specifically the album Come Fly With Me.

Exploring different jazz styles has been the foundation of Dusk’s career since he first appeared on the scene in 2001 and made a mainstream breakthrough three years later with his gold-selling album Two Shots, containing the title track written by Bono and The Edge.

From there, Dusk fully embraced the lifestyle of a classic crooner, following in the footsteps of Sinatra and Tony Bennett by performing regularly in Las Vegas, and recording at Capitol Records’ famed Studio A with a 58-piece orchestra. He became the first jazz artist to score a number one hit in Japan, and his 2013 tribute album to Chet Baker expanded his audience even further, going platinum in Poland of all places. This led Dusk to collaborate with Polish singer Margaret on his next release, Just The Two Of Us, firmly establishing his reputation in Europe.

We caught up with Dusk to talk about JetSetJazz ahead of his next Canadian show in Hamilton on March 29. For ticket info, go to mattdusk.com.

 

What makes JetSetJazz different from your past work?

As a fan of the mid-20thcentury big bands, the music is very similar to my previous albums but instead of recording standards from the Great American Song Book the songs on JetSetJazz are co-written by myself, Grammy-Award nominee Jenson Vaughan, and Vincent Degiorgio.

What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?

Having a hand in writing them all makes it difficult to choose, but I do enjoy performing the first three tracks the most, “Let’s Hop On A Plane,” “Lo Siento” and“Kicks In The 6ix.” They set up the mood for the journey that I wanted the album to be—a time machine back to simpler days when every drink was a double, and you never had a hangover!

How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?

I’ve been performing the “saloon style” crooner music for quite some time. The more I sing, the more I realize I still have a lot to learn. It’s an endless depth of emotion and musicality. Tony Bennett once told me he’s always learning, and I’ve taken that to heart.  The older I get, I find I am easing into the genre more and more. Jazz allows you to age gracefully.

What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?

I turned 40! I also started working with Andrew Turner at Enlightened Management. As a manager, Andrew challenges me to look at other avenues. The older folk love Sinatra, Bennett and Fitzgerald, but more and more young kids don’t know who they are.  Andrew and I are finding new ways to introduce the youth to timeless music in hopes they’ll go back and discover the amazing catalogue of the greats. If they don’t, I just tell them I wrote “New York, New York!”

What song by another artist do you wish you had written?

At this moment I’ll say “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. I kill that in karaoke! Who doesn’t like that song? The more I listen to it, the more I am amazed at the genius of it. The fact it almost wasn't released is something else. Sometimes artists just gotta stick to their guns!

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