FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Proudly Announces The Release Of His
LATEST MUSICAL PROJECT
“One of New Orleans’ best guitarists, Steve Masakowski has the ability to keep up with reed players, the virtuosity and harmonic knowledge to stand in with the best jazz musicians.”
– The New York Times
Steve Masakowski has long been regarded as one of the top Jazz artists from New Orleans. Born and raised in New Orleans, Steve has played guitar with most of the city’s greatest musicians including Alvin “Red” Tyler, Ellis Marsalis, Earl Turbinton, and James Black. He has also performed with Grammy Award winning artists Bobby McFerrin, Alan Toussaint, Nicholas Payton, and Dianne Reeves at major festivals around the world. As a recording artist, he has released numerous CD’s including two on the prestigious Blue Note Records label. He has been an active member of and composer for the award winning New Orleans Jazz group Astral Project. He has twice been voted “Best Guitarist,” and won “Best Contemporary Jazz Group” three times by Gambit and Offbeat magazines in their annual reader’s polls. Steve is highly regarded as a jazz educator and is currently on the faculty at the University of New Orleans where he holds the position of Coca-Cola Endowed Chair of Jazz Studies.
Amidst Masakowski’s tremendous career and musical lifestyle arose his two children, Sasha and Martin. The two, four years apart in age, were extremely close and grew up with big eyes and big ears, soaking in the soulful culture and music of their hometown New Orleans. Inspired and influenced by their parents (their mother, Ulrike, being a professional concert pianist) and parents’ friends (crazy uncle Johnny Vidocavich, auntie Leah Chase, etc) the baby Masakowski’s stepped eagerly into their parent’s shoes and quickly developed into cutting-edge, groundbreaking young jazz musicians, melting graciously and making their mark passionately on the New Orleans music scene. They both graduated from world-renowned arts high school NOCCA and attended the University of New Orleans for Jazz Studies, as well as Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands for Jazz Studies and World Music.
After a few short years working professionally as musicians, Martin, 19, has become one of the most in-demand bassists in New Orleans and the Netherlands and Sasha, 23, has headlined major clubs and festivals throughout the region. Offbeat Magazine recently nominated her Best Female Vocalist and Best Emerging Artist of 2009, and her debut album, Musical Playground, ranked #14 in the top 40 CDs of 2009 and was nominated Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
Steve, observing in awe at the profound musicality and fearless ambition of his children, decided to form a family-based band that was devoted to capturing the mysterious brilliance of new life, embodied both in his children as well as the rebirth of his hometown, New Orleans, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thus NOVA NOLA was born, literally meaning ‘New New Orleans,’ and with the release of Wetland comes a conceptual album with a meaning as deep and a message as powerful as the city that gave birth to the band: new life, new musical artistry, and a new rejuvenation of the most musical city in the United States.
The sound of NOVA NOLA is uniquely distinct in its fusion of New Orleans music with Latin music. The intoxicating rhythm and music of Brazil has always been a pivotal part Sasha and Martin’s musical upbringing. Sasha has often said that her earliest memory is of a moment when she and her brother were jumping on the bed hysterically in a musical high while listening to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Passarim.” These early influences are easily identifiable throughout the tracks on Wetland, and are embodied in Steve’s colorful compositions and the two Jobim standards recorded.
The two non-Masakowski members of the band are virtuoso vibraphonist James Westfall (of the Thelonious Monk Institute, Bionica, the Wee Trio) and world-renowned Latin-jazz drummer Ricky Sebastian (another uncle to the Masakowski children). Together with the electrifying guitar solos of Steve, the elegant Portuguese lyrics and Flora Purim-like improvisations of Sasha, and the percussive bass styling of Martin, the band embodies masterful musicianship and beauty, as well as a youthful, daring element that is the most powerful characteristic of NOVA NOLA’s musical vision.
New Orleans has given birth to yet another musical family, and the Masakowski’s are the latest to carry on the legacy of the Marsalis, Andrews, Neville, and Jordan families in their unstoppable music careers and devotion to New Orleans culture. Wetland is a powerful, heartfelt album that showcases a deep family connection entwined with masterful musicianship and a compelling drive to express innovation and new life within the world of music.
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or telephone: (504) 491-0583