Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy



Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Children's Magical Garden (September 15, 2018)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2017 Downtown Music Gallery Reviews - Bruce Gallanter


SAM NEWSOME / JEAN-MICHEL PILC - Magic Circle

Featuring Sam Newsome on soprano sax and Jean-Michel Pilc on piano. After five discs of solo soprano sax (!?!), Sam Newsome decided to try something different so he organized a duo session with French ex-pat pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. It turns out that Mr. Newsome and Mr. Pilc have been collaborating for a while with Newsome being a member of Pilc’s quartet (CD on Dreyfus). The duo cover seven well-known standards (Ellington, Monk & Coltrane) but do them in a unique way. Most of the songs are first (and only) takes, hence they sound fresh. “Autumn Leaves” has been covered by just about everyone, but I must admit that I dig this version since the duo seem to jump in and out of the stream, leaving space for the listener to add his or her own central current/flow (ongoing melody or structure). The music is exquisite, without too much embellishment or too many notes when a few will do. After concentrating on playing soprano sax exclusively for a number of years, Mr. Newsome has a wealth of ways to play and alter his approach, coming up with novel sounds for his special sax. He often bends and stretches his notes out, notes expanding and contracting in completely distinctive ways. Their version of Ellington, “In a Sentimental Mood” is sparse and filled with suspense, using as few notes as possible yet somehow most effective. Mr. Pilc spins a thick web of lines on “Giant Steps” when it begins while Mr. Newsome softly adds spiraling notes on top, the tempo increasing as it evolves. Pilc mutes a few of the strings, giving them a slightly bent yet playful quality on “In a Mellow Tone”. At times it sounds as if the duo are heading in opposite directions yet end up back together when we least expect it, especially the two pieces which are freely improvised and move in odd directions. Even when the duo play a bebop standard like “Out of Nowhere”, they seem to spin it in their own way. Mr. Plic does a marvelous job of playing two separate themes with each hand while Mr. Newsome plays those twisted notes on top. Considering that this discs features merely a duo, these two master musicians have found ways to reinvent the many different ways that they can work together in a fascinating, surprising dialogue. Excellent! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG




SAM NEWSOME - Sopranoville: New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone


Featuring Sam Newsome on prepared and unprepared soprano saxes. One saxist Sam Newsome sold his tenor sax and picked up the soprano, he became a man on a mission to explore the depths of playing solo soprano sax. This is Mr. Newsome’s fifth disc of solo soprano sax and one might think that he is running out of ideas but this is far from the case. Actually, Mr. Newsome has gone even further this time by experimenting on several levels: overdubbing numerous soprano saxes and altering the sopranos with varied manipulations: aluminum foil, scotch tape, making reeds out of straws and adding chimes or other percussive effects. There are some 22 pieces here and each one explores the soprano(s) in many different ways. Starting with, “The Quiet Before the Storm”, a stark, hypnotic, solemn intro for lone soprano with soft chimes, a great way to begin our journey. “The Doppler Effect” is for three soprano saxes in circular motion, spinning together in a most mesmerizing way. Even better is “Horns of Plenty” for 15 sopranos, interlocking in strong rhythmic patterns. The aptly titled “Hiss and Kiss” is for three mouthpieces, bending and twisting their sounds just right. For Mr. Newsome’s previous CD, ‘The Straight Horn of Africa’, Sam worked on setting up African rhythms by tapping on the keys of the sax. He continues to experiment with similar rhythms here, creating shifting patterns with one of more saxes, interlinking their lines. in “Micro-Suite for Fifteen Sopranos”, Newsome layers a number of slightly bent notes in a most fascinating way, the haze of notes being somewhat disorienting. The are only two songs covered in this collection: one is John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” for three sopranos played into a piano for resonance, all saxes swirling around one another until they play in unison near the end, all to great effect. Newsome has obviously worked hard at exploring a good deal of extended technique sounds, like using this odd flutter-tongue sounds which have been more common in recent years yet still sound fresh if one goes beyond their superficial use. I dig the way Newsome stacks up layers of bent note lines on “Soprano-ology”, combining alien sounds with something somehow familiar to those who enjoy taking chances, never knowing where things will end up. Sam Newsome has worked hard and created his own sonic world. well-with exploring. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search This Blog

Blog Archive