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Sam Newsome

New York, NY   

New York-based saxophonist and composer Sam Newsome works primarily in the medium of solo saxophone, a concept from which he gained worldwide critical acclaim with the release of his 2009 recording Blue Soliloquy: Solo Works for Soprano Saxophone, receiving a five-star review in Downbeat magazine.  Newsome has released six critically-acclaimed solo saxophone CDs, in total:  Sopranoville: Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone (2017); The Straight Horn of Africa (2014); Solo Concert: Sam Newsome Plays Monk and Ellington (2013); The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 (2012); Blue Soliloquy (2009); Monk Abstractions (2007). Jazz writer Ed Enright, from Downbeat Magazine, wrote that Mr. Newsome’s The Straight Horn of Africa CD was “a modern masterpiece.” 


Many of the notes and sounds that comprise his compositions and improvisations are derived from his 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 colors. “My music, “ says Newsome, “is a type of improvisatory art music in which jazz functions more as a resource than a musical genre to be interpreted with stylistic specificity. “ In more recent years, Newsome has been working in the sonic realm of prepared saxophone; a platform where he can expand his sound palette by altering the way in which air enters and exits the instrument. (Please see project description for detailed explanation of techniques.) Even though Newsome’s approach is unorthodox, it has proven to be very fruitful—musically and critically. 


2018 Nominated as Soprano Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association (JJA)

2018 Recipient of the  Alpert/Ragdale Prize in Music Composition

2017 Nominee for the Herb Albert Award in the Arts

2017 Sopranoville: Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone (five -star review in Downbeat)

2017 Magic Circle: Sam Newsome and Jean-Michel Pilc (4-star review in Downbeat)

2017  Downbeat Readers Poll, Category: Soprano Saxophone

2016 NYFA Artist’s Fellowship for the Music/Sound category

2016  Downbeat Critics Poll, Category: Soprano Saxophone (#4)

2016 Nominee for Soprano Saxophonist of the Year, Jazz Journalists Association (JJA)


As a performer, Newsome is a frequent collaborator with drummer Andrew Cyrille; vocalist Fay Victor’s SoundNoise;  saxophonist David Liebman, pianist Ethan Iverson, violinist Meg Okura; and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc.  He also plays in the bands of AfroHorn, The Bad Plus – Science Fiction: The Music of Ornette Coleman, Fay Victor’s SoundNoise; Fay Victor’s Standard Exploration, and Darius Jones’s Shades of Black.

Newsome frequently leads and co-leads, three ensembles: The SN Quartet,  featuring Angelica Sanchez on piano, Hilliard Greene on bass, and Reggie Nicholson on drums; The SN Trio, featuring Hilliard Greene on bass, and Reggie Nicholson on drums; and Magic Circle, with Jean-Michel Pilc on piano. Newsome also performs solo saxophone concerts around New York and across the country.  

 Lastly, Newsome is an associate professor of music at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, where he is the music program coordinator, and teaches courses in jazz improvisation, music theory, and directs the University’s jazz ensemble. 





The Sam Newsome Trio – Live at the Clemente Cultural Center

The performance was recorded December 111, 2017, as a part of the Evolving Music – ‘Justice is Compassion / Action is Power’
concert series presented by Arts for Art

Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone, percussion
Hill Greene – bass
Reggie Nicholson – drums

Recorded by Don Mount ©2017
Mastered by Katushiko Naito

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The Sam Newsome Trio – Live at Smalls Jazz (May 18, 2018)

The was recorded on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone, preparations
Hill Greene – bass
Reggie Nicholson – drums

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Sam Newsome (Solo)

This was recorded on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, took place at McGill University.

This performance features soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome performing a solo rendition of traditional Japanese song titled “Sakura, Sakura.”

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