|▶Jazz Deepens Bond Between Father, Daughter Musicians (2020-08-03)|
Sasha Masakowski remembers sitting at the piano with her father at their home in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the time, she was six years old.
Her father is the jazz musician Steve Masakowski. He would ask Sasha to play the piano while he played his guitar, she told VOA. “He would tell me to play something using just the white keys or just the black keys, and I’d make up music.”
She remembered thinking of herself as a “little composer,” making music with her dad.
“I love those memories,” she added.
More than 20 years later, Sasha, now 33 years old, is a successful musician. She has already made five record albums. She was recently nominated as New Orleans’ best female singer.
These days, father and daughter still work together, along with another musician, Sasha’s brother Martin. They perform together as the Masakowski Family Band. Right now, however, the COVID-19 health crisis means online performances only.
On a recent Friday night, the Masakowskis turned a room in their home into a performance space. They played in one of a series of local events held to honor jazz great Ellis Marsalis, who recently died from COVID-19.
“Ellis and I used to play together twice a week and I’m proud to pay tribute to him with music,” Steve says, “but to be able to do that with my daughter and son makes it even more special.”
For the Marsalis tribute, Steve wanted to perform music he and Ellis enjoyed playing together. One favorite of theirs was a piece Steve wrote called Sweet Dreams.
“I asked Sasha to write lyrics to it for this performance,” he said. “She did a beautiful job. To have your daughter write lyrics to your song -- what Dad isn’t going to love that? And she has a great ear for it.”
It is easy to understand how Sasha developed that ear. She grew up in a family in which music was always being played. Her father was not the only musician. Her mother is a successful pianist.
Sasha went to a local arts school and studied musical theater. She also developed a love for pop music, like that of Brittany Spears and boy band NSYNC.
Steve admits to hoping his children would develop a love for jazz.
“I know the joy music can bring to life and I wanted them to have that,” he said.
[June 19, 2020]