Sam Newsome

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

LIVE on WFMU with Kurt Gottschalk

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Art of Sound Exploration - The Sam Newsome Trio: Live at Smalls

My take on free jazz is a little different from some in that my commitment is more to the in-depth sonic exploration of my instrument than solely using it as a means of playing lines and patterns. My musical philosophy is rooted in the idea that if you’d like to arrive at unconventional sonic outcomes, the process through which you produce sound must also be conventional. And like many free jazzers, I do enjoy my noise and screeching moments, but overall, I find it much more satisfying creating music that’s nuanced with a wide dynamic range.

The following are the four sets I played at Smalls Jazz Club on Friday, May 18, 2018, and Saturday, May 19, 2018., with bassist Hill Greene on bass and drummer Reggie Nicholson. Two veterans practitioners of freer styles of jazz

My weekend at Smalls is significant to me for two reasons: One, being that Smalls is known for presenting more mainstream groups,  it was rare to have a group perform there playing totally improvised music. This type of jazz is more common in the East Village and Brooklyn than in the West Village. Much to my surprise, the crowd was really into it. Which proves my belief that's it's the musicians and industry folks who polarize music more so than the listeners. 

Secondly, this trio format allows me to showcase many of my sound explorations and extended techniques in the context of a rhythm section, and not just hearing me play them solo. Using them in a more interactive context is certainly more challenging, but these performances do prove that it is indeed possible.

I've also taken the time to catalog the different sonic explorations and extended techniques used in each set. This is helpful to those interested in analytical listening. 

But do check out both nights. There's a lot of interesting ideas and concepts being explored. Each set is a basket full of musical fruit for thought.

And shout out to Don Mount for the nice camera work. 

Friday, May 18, 2018 - First Set 

00:00 - Pitched lap tonging

06:25 - Doppler effect

10:53 - Harmon mute, Doppler effect and circular breathing

14:17 - Hanging wind chimes

23:34 - Tube extensions

31:06 - Aluminum foil

38:00 - Hanging 260 balloons

Friday, May 18, 2018 - Second Set

00:00 - Groan tube noisemaker inside of soprano

8:45 - Wood chimes

21:35 - Short tube extension with Doppler effect

25:23 - Short tube extension with flugelhorn bubble mute

37:14 - Long tube extension with aluminum foil and circular breathing

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - First Set

00:00 - Saxophone without the mouthpiece

08:02 - Tube extensions

21:40 - Hanging chimes

27:42 - 5 inch round balloons

31:52 - Aluminum foil

45:59 - Tube extension and flugelhorn bubble mute

47:53 - Flugelhorn bubble mute

48:24 - Trumpet Harmon mute

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Second Set

00:00 -  Hanging chimes

05:40 – Harmon mute and Doppler effect

14:10 – Tube extensions, flugelhorn bubble mute and Doppler effect.

16:50 - Tube extension and mouthpiece only

17:40 - 5 inch round balloons

20:04 – Aluminum foil and Doppler effect

31:04 – Long chimes

49:55 – Tube extensions and circular breathing

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