All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

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

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
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 1990s, switched to the straight horn in 1996. He has become a pioneering voice on the instrument. His second solo recording, Blue Soliloquy (Self Published, 2009) met with a wide critical acclaim. Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 is even better, with its focus on three separate suites, and the increased use of Newsome's incorporation of a variety of unusual technniques, including multiphonics, the ringingly percussive "slap tonguing," circular breathing, Middle Eastern lines, and the blowing of the horn onto the strings of a piano to create long, subtle sustaining tones that act as a sort of enhanced silence behind the soprano sound.

The three suites are saxophone legend John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965) (and it takes some nerve to tackle that one); a three-tune Duke Ellington medley; and Newsome's own "Soprano de Africana." Newsome wisely shuffled the sections of the suites, beginning with Ellingtons's "In a Mellowtone," moving into his haunting "Burkino Faso," from "Soprano de Africana," then to "Part 1" of Coltrane's masterpiece, "Acknowledgment."

The mix of the familiar and Newsome's originals blend into innovative statement, with the voice of a soprano saxophone that very often doesn't sound like a soprano saxophone at all in the traditional sense. Newsome shifts from "car-horn-in-an-echoing-tunnel" blowing that segues into an electro-industrial percussive resonance on Coltrane's "Acknowledgement," to the flute-like shimmer that introduces Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," along with the marimba-esque clunking that announces the saxophonist's own "Zulu Witch Doctor."

These are strange sounds, put together into a strangely compelling program—highly original and oddly gorgeous.

Track Listing: The Ellington Medley: In a Mellow Tone; Soprano de Aficana: Burkino Faso; A Love Supreme: Acknowledgement; Soprano de Africana: Sub Saharan Dialogue; The Ellington Medley: In a Sentimental Mood; Soprano de Afriacana: Zulu Witch Doctor; A Love Supreme: Resolution; The Ellington Medley: Caravan; Soprano de Africana: Fela!; A Love Supreme: Pursuance; A Love Supreme: Psalm.

Personnel: Sam Newsome: soprano saxophone.

Title: The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

In a Mellow Tone

In a Mellow Tone

Sam Newsome
The Art of the Soprano, Vol 1

A Love Supreme (Acknowledgement)

A Love Supreme (Acknowledgement)

Sam Newsome
The Art of the Soprano, Vol 1

Boo Boo's Birthday

Boo Boo's Birthday

Sam Newsome
Monk Abstractions

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone

Sopranoville: New...

Self Produced
2017

buy
Magic Circle

Magic Circle

Self Produced
2017

buy
 

Four by Six

Iacuessa Records
2013

buy
The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1

The Art of the...

Self Produced
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Sinatra & Jobim @ 50" CD/LP/Track Review Sinatra & Jobim @ 50
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Chapter Five" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Duo (DCWM) 2013" CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017