A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Steve was born and raised in New Orleans and has played guitar with most of the city’s greatest musicians including Alvin “Red” Tyler, Ellis Marsalis, Danny Barker, Earl Turbinton, and James Black. He has also performed with Grammy Award-winning artists Bobby McFerrin, Nicholas Payton, Allen Toussaint, Dianne Reeves and others at major festivals around the world.
As a recording artist, he has released numerous CDs 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.
He has published lessons in Guitar Player magazine and authored a book on jazz ear training for Mel Bay. He also appears with his children, bassist Martin and vocalist Sasha (B.A., UNO 2009), in performance and in recordings, including the Brazilian-inspired group Nova Nola and their critically-acclaimed release Wetlands.
Professor Masakowski holds the prestigious Coca-Cola Endowed Chair of Jazz Studies, a title first held by his teacher and mentor, Ellis Marsalis. Steve Masakowski earned a diploma at Berklee College of Music and is known as the inventor of the key-tar, an early guitar synthesizer. At UNO, he teaches advanced composition, jazz theory, and applied guitar.