Sam Newsome

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

Now available of Bandcamp!

Now available on Bandcamp!

Now available on Bandcamp!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SOlo CoNCeRt at the 440 Gallery: Next Sunday!

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-conventionalityBut 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

Review of Sopranoville by Avant Music News (AMN)

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

Review of new CD by Otto Kokke in www.

Sopranoville: New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone by Otto Kokke
I used the word soprano close to 20 times in this review and it’s not enough. There’s just one word needed to describe this album. Yeah, it’s aptly titled.
Legendary soprano saxophone player Steve Lacy once said, “The potential for the saxophone is unlimited.” Well, Sam Newsome took that to heart. Now, Sam would be what I call a Respectable American Jazz Musician. You know, the teaching position, CDs of Monk tunes, big festivals, etc. Being a soprano player myself, though far from respectable, not American and probably not even jazz, I’m usually kind of wary of records that come from this corner of the music industry. Most times, the only surprise I find there is how much it makes me yawn. So that’s kind of what I expected from someone like Sam.
But boy, was I wrong. Sam took Lacy’s statement, applied it to soprano and hit it out of the park. This is very much not a Respectable American Jazz album. This is a soprano saxophone album. Aside from some knick-knacks from the free jazz repository of “things that make percussive sounds,” it is soprano only. And on this album Sam takes his soprano off its leash and lets it go wherever it feels like going. And it goes everywhereThis album is nuts! It’s beyond eclectic, it’s all over the place. He makes every sound you can get from a soprano. He does it all. Everything. Without any sense of fixed direction or style. Corny, jazzy, cheesy, Disney, weird, ethnic, mellow, screeching, popping, irritating, overwhelming. Anything he was able to wrench out of his soprano, he did it. It’s bizarre. People will hate it. I love it.
Most of the 22 short songs are semi- or minimal compositions with a lot of room for improvisation and a lot of overdubbing action. If all you have is a soprano and you love it, you’d overdub the hell out of it too. In that sense, “Micro-Suite for Fifteen Sopranos” may be the magnum opus of the album.
To give an impression of the range of Sam’s ideas on Sopranoville, the album starts off with the aptly titled “The Quiet Before the Storm,” a song with some cheesy chimes and mellow, wistful soprano melodies. It is followed by a classical composition for soprano, some abstract compositions and explorations of extended techniques for soprano, some gimmicky percussive pieces using only the sound of closing keys on the soprano. There’s experimentation with “prepared soprano” techniques consisting of modifying the horn with paper, straws, tinfoil, and even hanging wind chimes off his horn. Most songs are a simple exploration of one basic idea, which makes the album quite easy to process despite the wide range of ideas and lack of coherence between them. But it’s all soprano, and that ties everything together. A cult classic, for the soprano cult.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Midwest Records review of Sopranoville: News Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone

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