Sasha Dobson's Journey Out Of Jazz And Into Songwriting

Play associated audio

Smith Dobson was one of the most sought-after pianists of the Bay Area when he died in a car crash in 2001. He was part of a musical family — his wife, Gail, a jazz singer; his son a drummer. His daughter, Sasha Dobson, was a scat singer who followed the family's jazz muse until her dad's tragic death.

Then, Sasha picked up the guitar, started playing in her friend Norah Jones' band, and now she has her own solo career; Aquarius, her first album of original songs, has just been released. Click the audio link to hear her conversation with NPR's Lynn Neary, and read on for highlights, including some that didn't make the radio version.


Interview Highlights

On leaving jazz behind

"It's actually still pretty hard for me, because I get so much energy from that music, and I don't know how to be a part of both worlds. Especially these days, you really have to title yourself to move forward in your career. But I wish to do both forever. I still love that music; I still harbor a torch for that knowledge. I just don't quite know how to filter it into what I'm doing now. It's just not my way anymore, especially socially. Picking up the guitar really opened up my life socially in a totally different way."

On Puss n Boots, her country trio with Norah Jones

"We were just comrades, you know? Pals on the scene. We both lost touch for various reasons. And one day years later we ran into each other, and that was it. I mentioned that I was thinking about playing guitar, and she was like, 'Oh, my God, me too.' ... Most of the covers that I would offer up were old jazz numbers, and most of the covers that Norah would offer up were more like Hank Williams and so on. [Country music] was maybe something that we embraced first because it's simple in its chord structure; you can dive in. That's part of the reason I love guitar, is that I only needed to know a few chords."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Man Booker Prize Awardee Recasts Complex 'Merchant of Venice' Character

In "Shylock Is My Name," Howard Jacobson re-imagines one of Shakespeare's most thought-provoking characters. Scott Simon asks Jacobson about it.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

Do Political TV Ads Still Work?

TV ads are a tried-and-true way for politicians to get their message out. But in this chaotic presidential primary, are they still effective?
NPR

Twitter Says It Has Shut Down 125,000 Terrorism-Related Accounts

The announcement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, saying the platform knowingly let ISIS use the network "to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.