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JFCL: Summer Garden Concert Series
Sam Newsome Trio
August 6, 2013

For the first of our summer garden concert series we are thrilled to have soprano saxophone trailblazer Sam Newsome and his trio. Newsome first came into prominence on the New York jazz scene as a member of the Terence Blanchard Quintet in the early 1990s, whose core members consisted of Blanchard on trumpet, Bruce Barth on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass, Troy Davis on drums, and Newsome on the tenor saxophone. Newsome, feeling uninspired by his sound on the tenor, along with his inability to shake his early influences, seemed to find hope and inspiration in the sound of the soprano saxophone, which, consequently, lead to his radical change in 1996 that resulted in him trading in the big tenor saxophone, for the smaller, more difficult soprano saxophone.

This lead to Mr. Newsome broadening his musical palette as he began studying music from North Africa, Japan, and the Middle East--incorporating non-Western scales into his musical vocabulary. He soon formed Global Unity, which was to become his working band for the next seven years. Global Unity consisted of a wide range of musicians from all over the world: vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou, oud player Amos Hoffman, guitarist Marvin Sewell, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and percussionists Gilad and Satoshi Takeishi.

Newsome has since then reached critical acclaim as a solo soprano saxophone musician with his first solo album in 2007, “Monk Abstractions,” garnering much praise: Mark Corroto from All About Jazz wrote: “Newsome expands the sound of a single soprano saxophone into a one man band.” In 2010, Newsome released his second solo saxophone CD, Blue Soliloquy--this time with the blues being at the music's core. Jazz critic Howard Mandel wrote, "Sam Newsome's Blue Soliloquy is music of significant yet subtle accomplishment." This CD was also given the distinguished five star ★★★★★ (masterpiece) rating by Downbeat Magazine.

Today, Mr. Newsome, in addition to being assistant professor of jazz studies at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, continues to tour, record and develop new ways to explore the soprano saxophone's sonic terrain. He has already begun writing new music for his third solo outing, on which he will explore the music of Steve Lacy.

Show mentioned in The New York Times

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