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Saxophonist Sam Newsome Explores Ellington, Coltrane and African Suites on The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1

LIU Brooklyn music professor earns rave reviews from The New York Times


Fatima Kafele,Deputy Director of Public Relations
LIU Brooklyn,
Long Island University

Sam NewsomeBrooklyn, N.Y. – Called “one of the most important soprano saxophonists of his generation” by All About Jazz, Sam Newsome, assistant professor of music at LIU Brooklyn, unveils the third in a trilogy of solo soprano recordings, “The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1.” The new album follows such acclaimed projects as 2010’s "Blue Soliloquy” (which received a five-star rating from Downbeat Magazine) and 2007’s “Monk Abstractions.”

Utilizing an array of extended techniques on the straight horn, from circular breathing to multiphonics to slap-tongue percussive effects, Prof. Newsome puts his personal stamp on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” suite and on three songs by Duke Ellington, while also weaving in original themes inspired by West African music. Music writer Ben Ratliff of The New York Times describes the album as “a methodical and beautiful record, full of personality, peculiarity and calm, rich sound.”

“Playing solo sax is very liberating for me,” Prof. Newsome said. “It’s a format that isn’t as historically codified as the conventional sax, piano, bass and drum setting. So I feel freer to experiment and switch things around as I please.”

Prof. Newsome joined LIU Brooklyn in 2006. He teaches jazz studies and oversees the jazz program as part of the campus’ music department. To learn more about Prof. Newsome’s music, visit

About Professor Newsome

Born in Salisbury, Maryland and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Sam Newsome began his musical education on alto saxophone at age nine before switching to tenor sax at age 13. He studied Jazz Composition and Arranging at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1983 to 1987 and toured Europe during the summer of 1987 with trumpeter Donald Byrd. After relocating to New York City, he joined trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s quintet in 1989 and remained in the group until 1993, recording several CDs on the Columbia label, including “Simply Stated” and the “Malcolm X Jazz Suite.” His debut recording as a leader, 1990’s “Sam I Am,” was named one of the top 10 CDs of the year by The New York Times jazz critic Peter Watrous. In 1995, he switched to soprano sax exclusively and formed his cross-cultural Global Unity band, which featured vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou and violinist Meg Okura (whom he later married in 2004).

In 2005, after several years of playing with Global Unity, Newsome decided to take a hiatus from performing as a leader to develop his musical concept for solo soprano saxophone.

He released his first solo soprano album, “Monk Abstractions,” in 2007 and followed with the acclaimed “Blue Soliloquy” in 2010. In 2011, the Jazz Journalists Association named Newsome as one of its finalists for "Soprano Saxophonists of the Year,” along with nominees Dave Liebman, Jane Ira Bloom, Jane Burnett, Wayne Shorter and Evan Parker.

LIU Brooklyn is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.

Posted 10/17/2012

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