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ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome and Jean-Michel Pilc: Magic Circle

Read "Magic Circle" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Intimate, innovative and captivating Magic Circle is an album of duets between soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. Although they perform primarily standards their interpretations are anything but conventional. Both musicians are known for their individual styles and singular approaches to improvisation and they showcase these superbly on the current disc.Pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington's “In a Sentimental Mood" opens with almost baroque refrains of Newsome's rich, meditative saxophone. Pilc's tolling piano provides a dark undertone. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome: Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone

Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On his fifth solo soprano album, Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-prepared Saxophone, Sam Newsome continues to explore and extend the utility of his instrument. This new release takes yet another new direction for Newsome whose previous solo outing The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation/Art of the Soprano, Vol. 2 (Self-produced, 2014) provided an aural link to Africa, evoking the soul and vitality of the continent. Here, as on Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome: The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation

Read "The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Sam Newsome's The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation (subtitled “Art of the Soprano, Vol. 2") is--despite the chronology--the fourth solo outing by the alto/tenor-turned-soprano saxophonist. The self-produced Monk Abstractions (2007) and Blue Soliloquy (2009) were highly regarded entries that preceded The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 (2012). The latter album saw Newsome using layering techniques that allowed him to add a percussion element effectively derived from tapping keys. To suit the objectives of The ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome: The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation

Read "The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Sam Newsome played tenor saxophone in trumpeter Terence Blanchard's group back in the early 90s, but he put away the tenor late a few years later and left his soprano saxophone out on the table. The plan was to explore the possibilities of “the straight horn." Then Gerry Teekan, producer and founder of Criss Cross Records, advised Newsome that the soprano horn was a very limited instrument. That observation was, fortunately, not taken to heart. The Straight Horn ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome: The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1

Read "The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Sam Newsome's The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 is a solo soprano saxophone outing, While not unprecedented--Steve Lacy and Evan Parker have done this before--it certainly is unusual. The straight horn all alone: no bass, no drums, no piano or guitar. Sounds lonely, and a little too sonically spare.But no one has gone deeper into solo soprano than Newsome. The saxophonist, who honed his artist chops in trumpeter Terence Blanchard's groups on tenor sax in the early ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Sam Newsome

Read "Take Five With Sam Newsome" reviewed by Sam Newsome

Meet Sam Newsome: One of the more important soprano saxophonists of his generation, Sam Newsome emerged onto the scene as a member of Terence Blanchard's quintet in the early 1990s, Newsome really hit his artistic stride when he began releasing a series of solo saxophone recordings expanding the sonic terrain of the soprano sax: Monk Abstractions (2007), Blue Soliloquy (2009), and The Art of the Soprano, Vol.1 (2012). Newsome is known for his extensive use of extended techniques ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sam Newsome: Blue Soliloquy

Read "Blue Soliloquy" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Sam Newsome's Blue Soliloquy is not just a recording of solo soprano saxophone pieces; it's an eloquent and daring discourse on the scope of possibilities that the instrument offers. As the CD title and song names suggest, the blues forms the foundation for everything Newsome writes and plays. He depends heavily on multiphonics but this complements, rather than submerges, the smooth, rich resonance of his overall tone.

There are Gershwin-esque flourishes in tunes like “Blues for Robert Johnson" and “Blue ...


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