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Paste Magazine

Growing up in New Orleans, the daughter of jazz guitar luminary Steve Masakowski, singer Sasha Masakowski had Mardi Gras tunes and second-line rhythms ingrained in her DNA. Her recording debut at age 21, 2007’s Musical Playground, led to her being named “Best Emerging Artist” in the Crescent City’s 2009 Big Easy Awards. She continued gigging and recording around town with her band Musical Playground, her trad jazz party band The Sidewalk Strutters and the Masakowski family band Nova Nola, featuring her father on guitar and brother Martin on bass. By 2015, she relocated to the Big Apple, hoping to reinvent herself. But she took a little bit of the Big Easy with her. Sasha’s musical curiosity led her to the experimental sound design of Hildegard, her duo with guitarist Chris Hines, and the edgy electro-pop art-rock band Tra$h Magnolia, which represented another sonic walk on the wild side. With 2018’s playfully eccentric Art Market, her Ropeadope Records debut, she blends her N’awlins roots with the edgier aspects of her musical personality. “It’s a thank you to New Orleans and to my family,” says the current Brooklyn resident. “But it’s also a looking at New Orleans from the perspective of now having been in New York for several years and how that’s changed my sound. It’s just a glimpse into all of my influences and where I am in this moment.” Sasha’s airy, delicate voice melds with New Orleans street beats, synth bass lines and electro-pop drum programming on her reimagining of the Mardi Gras staple “Iko Iko,” a tune she remembers from her early childhood. Louis Armstrong’s “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” gets a similar art-rock reworking while her affinity for New Orleans grooves comes through on “Sister.” Her “Scary Monster Song” utilizes looping and multiple-voice overdubbing while her wordless vocals alongside her father’s flowing guitar work on his “Ascending Reverence” (from his 1994 Blue Note album, Direct Axecess) and scat-infused abandon on Bill Evans’ “Interplay” prove that she can indeed hang with the jazz cats. That kind of blurring of boundaries defines Art Market, which she calls,“a snapshot of my musical mind.” For a change of pace, check out Sasha’s recent collaboration with the Pagsberg Big Band of Denmark on Surprises, a more straight-ahead offering. (Photo by Tatiana Eva Marie)



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October 25, 2019

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