Melissa "Missy" Hasin is not only one of the few jazz improvisers who has made the cello her primary instrument in the 1980s and 1990s; she's also an extremely versatile session player who has embraced everything from classical and pre-rock pop to heavy metal, soul and rap. Born in Hollywood, CA and raised in Newport Beach, CA, Hasin first studied the cello at the age of six. Her parents wanted her to stick to classical, but Hasin soon became interested in a variety of music and played the electric bass in various blues and rock bands as a teenager. As a young adult, she concentrated mainly on the cello and earned a BA in music from California State University, Long Beach in 1978. The following year, she backed Sammy Davis, Jr. at a Lake Tahoe gig. It was in the mid-1980s that Hasin (who considers Jaco Pastorius and John Patitucci primary influences) married guitarist Ed Kusby and recorded the new age cassette Cellistic Visions for Cexton Records. After that, she kept busy doing everything from backing Smokey Robinson on stage to playing with classical orchestras and doing a variety of jazz, rock and R&B sessions. The 1990s found Hasin being featured as a soloist on albums by Teddy Edwards (with whom she has often played live), Everett Harp and David Benoit and playing on sessions by everyone from Barbara Streisand and Natalie Cole to No Doubt (which used Hasin on its major hit of 1996 "Don't Speak") to the controversial gangster rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg. On stage, Hasin backed Frank Sinatra in 1996 and Led Zeppelin graduates Robert Plant & Jimmy Page in 1997. Feeling that she should be doing more as a leader, Hasin recorded the acoustic post-bop/hard bop date, How My Heart Sings, for Cexton in 1997.
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