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Samantha Boshnack

Whether creating sonic explorations with her 14-piece B’shnorkestra or fronting her own Quintet, composer/trumpeter Samantha Boshnack walks her own path. As the leader of these ensembles and an active member/contributing composer to various others, she is never far from inspiration. Boshnack’s talents have brought her into the company of such diverse artists as Butch Morris, Eyvind Kang, Oliver Lake, Los Campesinos, Bobby Previte, Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, Skerik, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Jherek Bischoff, Tom Varner, Jessica Lurie, Amy Denio, Dead Science, Joshua Kohl, Paul Kikuchi, Evan Flory Barnes, Paul Rucker, and Orkestar Zirkonium.

Boshnack grew up surrounded by many genres, but in her household jazz was king. After ingesting a prototypical diet of Miles, Dizzy, and Morgan, a love of spice eventually led her to contemporary innovators such as Lewis Barnes, Steven Bernstein, and Dave Douglas, along with a slew of Cuban soloists. The latter’s sense of rhythm and penchant for “letting loose” have been her greatest influences, emboldening her as an artist who plays comfortably outside the box of standard jazz.

After studying jazz composition at Bard College, Boshnack proved that not all roads lead to New York for the aspiring improviser. In search of something different, she ended up in Seattle, where fate dropped her into the free jazz collective known as Monktail Creative Music Concern. After an ad hoc performance with MCMC, she knew she’d found her niche. Encouragement from local musicians and the welcoming temperament of the scene made it a perfect fit, and Boshnack hasn’t looked back since. The subsequent decade has found her active in a variety of musical and theatrical settings and has, more importantly, put her in contact with some phenomenal musicians in their own right. She toured nationally and internationally with the modern jazz group Reptet for seven years, releasing four albums comprised mostly of her compositions. She also formed the B’shnorkestra in 2011 and released Go To Orange in 2013 to critical acclaim. Her eponymous Quintet brought together players who had never worked before as a unit, and the results have been nothing short of incendiary—hence the title of their 2014 debut album, Exploding Syndrome. That same year saw a collaboration with Karin Stevens Dance, the premiere of the “Nellie Bly Project” (a four-movement work about a lesser-known female figure in history), and a Master Artist-in-Residence Program with legendary jazz pianist Marilyn Crispell. In 2014 she also helped form the Alchemy Sound Project, a composer-led ensemble featuring the works of Sumi Tonooka, Erica Lindsay, Salim Washington, David Arendt, and Boshnack herself. In May of 2016, ASP released their debut recording on Artists Recording Collective, entitled Further Explorations, which Travis Rogers, Jr. of JazzTimes called “a musical pilgrimage that searches the horizons and moves beyond them. The compositions are inspiring and intelligent and the performance artistry is exemplary.”

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Album Review

Alchemy Sound Project: Afrika Love

Read "Afrika Love" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The group Alchemy Sound Project is the result of five accomplished composers and bandleaders pooling their resources. The five are saxophonists Salim Washington and Erica Lindsay, trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, pianist Sumi Tonooka and bassist David Arend. Each one contributes a composition to this, their third release together. The result is a varied set of complex and restless modern jazz, arranged to showcase the playing talents of the group's members. Arend's “The Fountain" is a jangling group collage which ...

Album Review

Alchemy Sound Project: Afrika Love

Read "Afrika Love" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Confirming the many advantages of a regular working ensemble, the Alchemy Sound Project came together in 2014 to provide an additional venue of exploration for several members of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute in Los Angeles. Although the group possesses an affinity for fusing classical composition techniques with expansive improvisation, what stands out on Afrika Love, the collective's third release, is its undisguised love of the jazz tradition. With a three-horn core of trumpeter Samantha Boshnack and multi-instrumentalists ...


20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Samantha Boshnack

Read "20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Samantha Boshnack" reviewed by Paul Rauch

The city of jny: Seattle has a jazz history that dates back to the very beginnings of the form. It was home to the first integrated club scene in America on Jackson St in the 1920's and '30s. It saw a young Ray Charles arrive as a teenager to escape the nightmare of Jim Crow in the south. It has produced such historical jazz icons as Quincy Jones and Ernestine Anderson. In many instances it has acted as a temporary ...

Album Review

Sam Boshnack Quintet: Nellie Bly Project

Read "Nellie Bly Project" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Samantha Boshnack is more than a musician and composer. She is a storyteller who walks us through the history of things. With Nellie Bly Project, she tells the story of daredevil journalist, writer, and feminist Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922), known by her pen name, Nellie Bly. The compositions, a four movement suite, are like a journey through the history of the struggles of women throughout American history, a struggle that continues today, and that Boshnack describes as a daily part ...


Samantha Boshnack: A Musical World Without Boundaries

Read "Samantha Boshnack: A Musical World Without Boundaries" reviewed by Paul Rauch

The city of Seattle has an eclectic relationship with jazz historically, in terms of innovation and embracing the notion of music without boundaries, of musical communities interacting and supporting each other. Samantha Boshnack fits perfectly into that musical paradigm. Whether writing and performing with her 14 piece ensemble B'shnorkestra, or in a quintet setting, Boshnack has pushed musical boundaries in a multitude of directions. Her music carries a social narrative, an emotional intelligence uniquely her own. Her new release, Global ...

Album Review

Samantha Boshnack: B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos

Read "B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Jazz music has an eclectic relationship with the city of Seattle, from the Jackson Street days during and following prohibition, through the often brilliant scene today, the musical current has burned brightly in terms of innovation, and the freedom to express one's musical identity freely. Composer/trumpeter Samantha Boshnack seems then, a natural extension of this current of innovation and expressive magnetism that continues to spark the creative freedom this city inspires.Since her arrival here from her native New ...

Extended Analysis

Wayne Horvitz/The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble: At The Reception, Wayne Horvitz: 55: Music And Dance In Concrete

Read "Wayne Horvitz/The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble: At The Reception, Wayne Horvitz: 55: Music And Dance In Concrete" reviewed by John Ephland

Wayne Horvitz is a musical universe unto himself. Has been for well over 35 years. And it's not just his stick-to-it-ive-ness that continues to make his music so damn engaging, a contrariness redefined. Consider these two recent releases as prime examples. The composer/bandleader/keyboardist (who turns 60 in 2015) has a musical history that just might grab you by the throat, if not coax you into some kind of mesmerizing trance. 55: Music And Dance In Concrete and At The Reception ...

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Boshnack can scream or play it sweet. (All About Jazz)

One of Seattle’s most promising young composers is Samantha Boshnack. (The Stranger)

These first three tracks make full use of the sextet’s collective character, though do stand out stylistically as Boshnack’s – patient horn interplay supported by heavy bass grooves, some with structural rhythmic phrasings that lend a larger dimension than a sum of parts. (Earshot Jazz)

Samantha Boshnack’s open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes have a friendly monster feel that achieves a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur. (Downbeat)

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Afrika Love

Artists Recording Collective


Nellie Bly Project

ARC - Artists Recording Collective


Further Explorations

ARC - Artists Recording Collective


Exploding Syndrome

Self Produced


At The Reception

Songlines Recordings


The Fountain

From: Afrika Love
By Samantha Boshnack


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