Sasha Masakowski



Out of the great city of New Orleans, where music is as

important, delicious and rich as its food and jazz music seeps
through the walls and cracks of every historical building and
sidewalk, vocalist Sasha Masakowski is blossoming as a very
impressive key figure in the newest generation of jazz musicians
destined to keep the musical legend of the city and her family afloat
and ever-expanding. The release of her debut CD, Musical
Playground proves that “the future of jazz is in great hands,” as said
about Masakowski by legendary New Orleans jazz vocalist Leah
Chase. Musical Playground is an expressive, exciting, and daring
project that features some of New Orleans’ most promising young
Sasha’s musicality can be seen as a direct influence of her
mother and father. Ulrike and Steve Masakowski are both virtuoso
professional musicians. Ulrike, her mother, is a concert pianist and
author of a self-taught piano book. Steve Masakowski, worldrenowned 7-string jazz guitarist, has done two albums under the
Blue Note label and toured with the likes of Bobby McFerrin and
Dianne Reeves, among others. Steve is currently the Coca-Cola
endowed chair of the Jazz Studies department at the University of
New Orleans and plays with one of New Orleans’s greatest modern
jazz quartets, Astral Project.
Sasha began singing at 8 and decided at a very early age that
she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her parents and pursue the
career of a musical artist. In high school she attended the
prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and graduated as
a highest level senior with a certificate in Musical Theatre. Thereshe studied intensively the art of singing, as well as acting and
dancing, and began frequently performing in major musical works
around the city. Just weeks after Hurricane Katrina swept her wrath
across the city, Sasha left to pursue an offer to study overseas on a
full scholarship in the Netherlands, at the Rotterdam Conservatory
of Music. There she studied jazz and world music under some of
Europe’s best improvising musicians. After returning to the US,
Sasha was eager to bring her music to life in an artistic renaissance
much needed to revitalize the decapitated state of her hurricaneridden hometown. She began performing with her father and little
brother (superb acoustic bassist) in venues throughout the city,
from Snug Harbor to Club 300 to Donna’s. Soon therafter, her
father decided it was time to put his vocal wisdom from working
with McFerrin and Reeves to the test and agreed to produce her first
album, which is where Musical Playground was born.
Sasha is joined on her album by renowned vibraphonist James
Westfall, saxophone prodigy Rex Gregory, bass sensationalist
Nathan “Kirk Nasty” Lambertson, native New Orleans drummers Paul
Thibodeaux and Charles Brewer, and Mexico City’s own guitar hero
Alberto Medina. In addition to this outstanding cast, Sasha features
her father and little brother on the album, proudly keeping the local
New Orleans tradition of family-based musical relationships alive in
the likings of the great Marsalis, Neville, Jordan, and Batiste
families. On Bill Evans’ “Interplay” the three come together
exclusively, and magically improvise together with ease, fluidity,
and chemistry formed from a lifetime of musical unity.
Eager to produce a product most expressive of her love for
various sub-genres of jazz music, Masakowski carefully chose
songs bursting with musical flavors of Brazilian, free jazz, straight
ahead, and traditional jazz, and improvises freely and melodically
throughout most tracks. From compositions of modern jazz greats
such as Steve Kuhn and Kenny Wheeler to intricate arrangements of
traditional Irving Berlin and Gershwin standards to obscure Brazilian
sambas, the album surprises and enlightens listeners with a highly
eclectic mix of songs sung passionately and joyfully by Masakowski.
Sasha can be seen performing tracks from her new album live
at various venues throughout the 2009 Festival season including
Mimi’s in the Marigny, Irvin Mayfeild’s Jazz Playhouse, Columns
Hotel, Windsor Court Hotel, and French Quarter Festival.
For more information on performances visit:


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