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Sasha Masakowski & Musical Playground Hit the High Notes in Jazz Series

Sasha Masakowski Evenings of Intimate Jazz Series:
Sasha Masakowski & Musical Playground

Featuring James Westfall on piano, Jason Weaver bass, and Brent Solnick drums

March 12
8:00 PM

The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center

Tickets: $30/Individual,
$25/Groups of 6 or more

Buy Tickets Online Now

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.

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 highly acclaimed educational piano book series, “Reeka Rules.” Steve Masakowski, world renowned 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’ 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. There she 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 hurricane-ridden hometown. She began performing with her father and little brother (acoustic bassist Martin Masakowski) in venues throughout the city, from Snug Harbor to Club 300 to Donna’s. Soon thereafter, 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, “Musical Playground.”

Since the debut of her CD, Sasha has received vast acclaim from critics, fellow musicians, and general audiences alike throughout the U.S… Her reputation as a daring, fearless improviser and charming, creative interpreter has lead to reviews such as “Sasha Masakowski approaches songs as a musician, not as a character in a musical like so many jazz female vocalists” (Alex Rawls, jazz critic) and “The future of jazz is in great hands! Whether she’s singing a great standard or an obscure samba, her musical fearlessness is a joy to hear” (Leah Chase, jazz vocalist). In 2009 Sasha was nominated “Best Female Vocalist” and “Best Emerging Artist,” by Louisiana’s premier music magazine Offbeat.

“Musical Playground” was also nominated “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,” in a category shared with Terence Blanchard and Christian Scott among others. Later that same year, Sasha was awarded the prestigious Big Easy Music Award for “Best Emerging Artist of 2009.”

Sasha is constantly seeking to progress the sound of her music and has deeply explored many subgenres of jazz music to help cultivate her exotic style; from Brazilian music to experimental free-jazz to electro/rock to traditional jazz. She fronts two bands of her own: Musical Playground and Puppy Chow, both fundamentally spirited with New Orleans passion and charm, but stylizing in completely separate genres of music. She is also a current member of New Orleans’ premier indie rock/electronic band Bionica as well as contemporary Brazilian jazz quintet Nova Nola. Sasha has been featured at New Orleans’ greatest music festivals, including Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, and Satchmo Festival, and performs regularly at legendary New Orleans clubs such as Snug Harbor, Blue Nile, Balcony Music Club, Mimi’s in the Marigny, Spotted Cat, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, and many others.

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