"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy
Sunday, March 26, 2017
On Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 4:40 pm at the 440 Gallery at 440 6th Avenue in Brooklyn (Do you see a pattern here?), I will be performing works from my new solo recording Sopranoville: New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone. This performance is a part of the “Me, Myself, and I” solo concert series presented by Michel Gentile. And I have to say, I'm really excited and really nervous about the release of this CD. Over the past few years, I've gotten used to rattling the cage-of-conventionality. But now, I've taken that cage, thrown it on the ground and kicked it a few times. It's been fun pushing my own limits. However, I'm still amazed at how scary the thought of releasing the results of these new limits into the world are.
Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about: During the final session, I recorded one piece titled "Micro-Suite for 15 Sopranos, " which on the surface sounds pretty insane. One soprano without accompaniment sounds strange enough, but 15 is over the top. And there were a few moments while listening to the playback where I thought, "Wow, this is new territory." Not necessarily good territory, but certainly new. And it's scary to think that over-dubbing 15 sopranos will someday be my normal. In some ways, I guess it already is.
Thanks to my recent NYFA fellowship, I was afforded the resources to go into the studio five or six times from August of 2016 to November of 2016, with no tunes, no written notes, and no idea of what I was going to record. My only agenda was to have fun--which I did. Exploring the concept of prepared soprano was new for me. But it is quickly becoming my new normal.
And I realize that the soprano sax played in a conventional way can be a bit much for people, so I can only imagine the response to hearing the soprano altered (or prepared) by attaching aluminum foil to the bell or covering the opening the neck with scotch tape and punching small holes inside for bursts of air to escape through. Pretty wild stuff. Certainly a creative framework I'd like to explore further.
But it was wonderful to be able to compile these several hours of sonic exploration and adventure into a full-length CD. I went into this recording thinking that it might be my last one for a while. But who knows, maybe I have a few more left in me. I guess only time will tell.
And once again, the set at 440 Gallery begins at 4:40 PM. Copies of my new CD will also be available. Maybe I'll even sell them for $4.40 per CD! OK. You can STOP laughing now!
Sunday, March 19, 2017
The following review was written by Avant Music News (AMN) on March 19, 2017. The reviewer is only known as Mike.
“Not being terribly familiar with the works of Sam Newsome, I had (for some reason) assumed that he was focused on straight jazz. To my distinct pleasure, I was proven wrong by Sopranoville, his new experimental saxophone release.
Subtitled “New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone,” the album consists of 22 short tracks all produced, in one way or another, by soprano sax. This involves not only overdubbing, but manipulating the sounds coming out of the instrument with tape, aluminum foil, reed-straw, and so on. Through the use of extended techniques, Newsome offers drones, squeaks, and percussive elements. Clearly, the focus is on experimentation – seeing how far the sonic envelope of the soprano can be pushed. To that end, Newsome not only elicits unconventional output from his instrument, but also crafts clever multi-track compositions in the studio – in some cases, up to fifteen sopranos are layered upon one another with an avant-orchestral flavor. That’s not to say that all of these pieces are abstract. On some, Newsome sets forth catchy, yet discordant, themes. But the focus here is new music.
As solo sax recordings go, I remain a big fan of the Anthony Braxton / John Butcher styles and approaches. However, in view of Sopranoville, I’ll be adding Newsome to the list of individuals whose future output is of interest.”
To read the original, CLICK HERE:
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Review by Midwest Records on March 4, 2017
SAM NEWSOME/Sopranoville-New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone: Compelling in the same way that Mort Weiss' late period, totally solo works are, Newsome expands his palette a little more than Weiss and he's doing more risk-taking and exploring of outer edges. Bordering on being Sunday afternoon arts council fare, Newsome imbues it with that something extra, as well as some civil rights jazz vibes, that keeps the sounds hipster populist rather than egghead elitist. A nice look at the outer edges from a cat with the chops to pull it off.
To pre-order CD, CLICK HERE
My struggles with confidence has been a constant companion throughout my life's journey, with and without my horn. I certainly have my g...
Have you ever tried playing the soprano saxophone using a Bb clarinet reed? Believe it or not, they work great. I first heard about thi...
Saxophonist Jasmine-Lovell Smith is unique in two ways. One, she one the few young jazz musicians living in the United States who hail fr...
It goes without saying that an institution of musical thought and creative generosity has left the planet. But, on a positive note, also lef...