Dedicated to expanding the sonic boundaries of solo saxophone performance since 2006, New York-based Sam Newsome creates improvisatory art music expressed through a personalized sound palette of extended techniques where jazz functions as a foundational resource.
Newsome’s seventh solo release, “Chaos Theory: Song Cycles for Prepared Saxophone” (2019) features concepts and methodologies which allow him to delve further into the sonic crevices of his instrument.
Working primarily in the medium of solo saxophone, Sam Newsome gained world-wide critical acclaim with the release of “Blue Soliloquy: Solo Works for Soprano Saxophone” (2009), which received a five-star review in Downbeat magazine.
Many of the notes and sounds that comprise his compositions and improvisations are derived from his own personal sound palette of extended techniques: multi-phonics, flutter tonguing, percussive slap tonguing, soprano saxophone specific micro-tones, air sounds, key clicks, air hisses, acoustic sound manipulation, Tartini tones, and various forms of oral cavity manipulation. Newsome sees himself more along the lines of a visual artist who paints with notes and sounds rather than shapes and color.
Even though Newsome’s approach is unorthodox, it has proven to be very fruitful—musically and critically. In 2018, received the New Music USA Project Grant; he received the Alpert/Ragdale Residency Prize in Composition. In 2017, he was nominated for the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. In 2016, he received the NYFA Artist’s Fellowship for the Music/Sound category. The 2016 Jazz Journalist Association (JJA) selected him as a nominee for Soprano Saxophonist of the Year, and he placed #4 in the Soprano Saxophone category in the 64th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll--just behind Wayne Shorter and Dave Liebman.
As a performer, Newsome is a frequent collaborator with drummer Andrew Cyrille, vocalist Fay Victor, saxophonist David Liebman, and pianist Ethan Iverson. He also plays in the bands of AfroHorn, and frequently performs solo saxophone concerts around New York and across the country. Newsome is an associate professor of music at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, where he is the music program coordinator, teaching courses in jazz improvisation, music theory, and directs the University’s jazz ensemble