Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Hassay, Gary (Joseph)

Hassay, Gary (Joseph), alto saxophone; b. Allentown, PA, 12 November 1947. He went to Livingston College, graduating in 1972 after the Navy.

Hassay has been performing since 1979 with various groups, both as a leader and a sideman. His large ensemble, "Dr. Vincent Sakeeda's Attack Ensemble," founded in 1979, was a tour-de-force of free music which drew critical and public attention.

Beginning in 1985, interdisciplinary collaborations have become the main interest of Hassay. Working in partnership with choreographer Karen Carlson has produced more than thirty-seven performance scores (musician/dancer) in nine years. "The Stubborn Trio" (GH/KC/action painter Howard Greenberg) performed together for over four years. An inter-active computer environment installation (Scott Sherk, George Shortess, G.H., K.C.) occurred in 1997.

"The New Lounge", is the name of one of Hassay's current musical projects (as,dm,gui). A solo cd project entitled "A Survivor's Smile" was released on the Dbops Music label in November 1996. Dbops Music released a limited edition cd (alto sax/violin) entitled "Dbops Pollittics" in June, 2001.

Hassay has performed with musicians from throughout the world including Fred Frith, Andrew Cyrille, Gerry Hemingway, Anne LeBaron, Peter Broetzmann, William Parker, Tom Cora, Wadada Leo Smith, George Cartwright, Milford Graves, Paul Rogers, Jin Hi Kim, Toshi Makihara, Wittwulf Malik, Harry Beckett, Lenny Seidman, also Chris Cochrane, Masahiko Kono, Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith, Keshavan Maslak, Michael Lytle, David Moss, Butch Morris, Jim Sauter, Don Dietrich, Donald Miller, Douglas Ovens, Stanley Schumacher and Soviet musicians Vyacheslav Gayvoronsky and Vladimir Volkov.
Hassay cites among his formative influences Hungarian Gypsy violin music, R&B/soul music, Albert Ayler, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Broetzmann and Evan Parker.

Working with choreographers such as Karen Carlson, Sally Silvers, Simone Forti, Elisabetta Vittoni, Hellmut Gottschild, Margarita Guergue, Catherine Pouzet and Ariel Weiss has allowed Hassay to expand his performance options. Hassay has also organized many live music/action painting events (starting in 1982) with visual artists Ed Kerns, Michael Kessler, Howard Greenberg, Berrisford Boothe, Greg Weaver and Barnaby Ruhe. Poet Sybil Madrigal was part of a series of projects in 1988. Mr. Hassay worked with PA poet Lee Upton in 1990 and with NYC poets Gerald Stern and Bruce Andrews in 1991/92. "Body on the Edge of Crisis"; is the title of a 1993 Butoh (Hijikata) influenced project including Toshi Makihara, Carlson and Hassay. The Butoh project, commissioned by the PCA, is based on a multi-track three language digital soundtrack created from the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud (Genie). In 1996 sculptor Scott Sherk, Hassay and Carlson produced a installation/ performance project.

Hassay is President and a founding member of improvisationalmusicco., inc. (improvco), a not-for-profit corporation based in Allentown, PA. improvco, inc. receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. Since its inception in 1981, improvco has presented over 100 concerts of experimental music and interdisciplinary performance by international artists. Hassay has received grants from Meet the Composer, the PA Council on the Arts (Fellowship and Artist in Education) and the Painted Bride (NEA regional interdisciplinary grant).
His album Another Shining Path received four first round qualifications for Grammy nominations 1999 in the following categories: Best New Artist: The Ye Ren Trio  (Gary Hassay, William Parker, Toshi Makihara), Best Jazz Solo: Gary Hassay for It Was Rich's Race, Best Jazz Solo: William Parker for Ante Up, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by an Individual or Group: Another Shining Path.

Another Shining Path (1999); Gary Hassay/Anne LeBaron: Blackwater Bridge (2002)

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