New Single: Cabin Fever

Today, Henry Godfrey and I are releasing a new single on Bandcamp!

“Cabin Fever” is a short burst of energy, representing the angst caused by social isolation.

And check out the music video!

On the first Friday of each month, Bandcamp has generously been waiving their cut of the sales to the artists. It’s a great day to support your favorite artists by purchasing their music and merch through Bandcamp.

Listening Log: Week 4 (Bandcamp Friday Edition)

This week, I am going to write two Listening Logs, this first one being dedicated to the great music I picked up on Bandcamp Friday in recent months. On the first Friday of each month, Bandcamp has been waiving their revenue share to help artists during the COVID pandemic. Each month, I make sure to purchase music from artists I admire, many of whom I am fortunate to call friends, colleagues, and teachers. For this Listening Log entry, I will share some of my favorite Bandcamp Friday finds.


She Moves Just Like the River — Henry Godfrey

Henry Godfrey is a near-and-dear person in my life, in addition to being a frequent musical collaborator. He released the LP version of his Love Finds Everyone on a Bandcamp Friday. I am fascinated by the concept of having both a studio and live version of the same piece. On She Moves Just Like the River, Henry takes us on a journey through lush orchestrations, backdrops for compelling solos, and driving rhythmic pulses.

Mr. Con Edisons Conspiracy — Takuma Matsui

Takuma Matsui is one of my good friends in the Berklee Jazz Composition program. In his first EP 47|48, Takuma does an incredible job synthesizing all the rich musical traditions he has studied into these heartfelt, inventive, lyrical pieces. During this unprecedented time in history, the fourth track entitled Mr. Con Edisons Conspiracy speaks to me.

Bebopper — Frank Carlberg & Ran Blake

Gray Moon is an exciting album that, while containing familiar songs, adds a new dimension to them. I particularly enjoyed Bebopper for its playfulness, the seamless interplay between Frank Carlberg and Ran Blake, and their refreshing take on and expansion of the bebop tradition.

Abracadabras — Lolivone De La Rosa

Lolivone De La Rosa is another Berklee friend who is putting out wonderful music. In her single Abracadabras, she showcases her prowess on the guitar and her incredibly expressive voice — the first time she has recorded herself singing. I look forward to hearing her continue to explore her voice as a guitarist and vocalist.

Call It — Jacob Moore

Jacob Moore and I met during the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency in 2018. Much like my EP The New Groove, Jacob released his project The Trap somewhat impulsively as a testament to being able to create meaningful music in a short amount of time with the relatively limited equipment available at home. While Jacob refers to the project as “really janky,” I hear a compelling artistic voice that drew me in from the first track, Call It, immediately. These songs really speak to this moment in American history.

What have been your favorite Bandcamp Friday purchases this year? Who’s music is keeping you motivated during this time? Let me know in the comments!

Listening Log: Week 1

During these uncertain times, it is easy to rush back to the music, foods, and activities that make me comfortable. It’s time to shake that up!

I need to find a way to stay accountable to listening to “new” music (whether it is recently recorded or something from 100 years ago that I never heard before). After a long hiatus, I started keeping a listening log again and thought it would be fun to start sharing five of my favorite tracks of the week.

This is not a review or critique. I am just going to share five tracks I really enjoyed this week and where to learn more about the artists. Please don’t send unsolicited requests for me to review music.

The tracks are not listed in any particular order.

With all of that out of the way, here’s Listening Log: Week 1!


If It’s Magic – Artemis

I was blown away by this magical track that jazz supergroup Artemis dropped to promote their upcoming self-titled album. The group honored this Stevie Wonder classic, yet found their own voice on it, a magnificent accomplishment.

Cynical Sideliners – Ambrose Akinmusire

This stripped down track from Ambroses Akinmusire’s album on the tender spot of every calloused moment is pensive and haunting. It made me reflect on how critical people are from behind screens in the age of social media without putting anything on the line themselves.

Ain’t Nobody’s Business – Jason Moran

Ain’t Nobody’s Business has been one of my favorite songs for more than a decade now (particularly the Billie Holiday version). It was refreshing to hear Jason Moran’s take – crafting practically a new setting – on this tune in his album ALL RISE: A Joyful Elegy For Fats Waller.

Play Money – Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller

Play Money, the first track on Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller’s album Parlour Game, is a series of winding melodic lines infused with blues language. I enjoyed the journey of the entire album, and the warm quality the violin brought to the music.

(While there is a rich tradition of violin in “Jazz” and improvised music, it is still a less featured melodic instrument in these idioms.)

Rosetta – Johnny Hodges & Earl Hines

Okay, I’m cheating with this one a little bit because I knew this track and album (Stride Right) before this week. It is a song I know and love that brings me joy and comfort during this time. I’m also including it here because I want more people to know about this album!

What did you think of my list this week? Who have you been listening to? Let me know in the comments!

OUT NOW: The Ragtime Project EP and Ebook

I am so excited to release my Ragtime Project EP and Ebook! It has been an intense and challenging process to bring this multi-faceted project to fruition, testing my performing, composing, producing, research, and writing chops to the max.

Thank you so much to everyone who has encouraged and supported me through this process. Special thanks to Henry Godfrey for playing drums, mixing and mastering the audio, and keeping me focused on the end goal.

I have been wanting to share this music and writing with the world for months. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

With gratitude and excitement,
Sam

FRIDAY: The Ragtime Project EP and Book Launch

On Friday, August 7th, I am going to be releasing my Ragtime Project EP on Bandcamp! The recording will consist of three tracks – Rag in Fourths (released as a single last month), Imitation Rag, and a third track loosely inspired by the Ragtime aesthetic.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, I am going to be self-publishing my first book! The book will contain some of the material from my Ragtime Project blog, plus additional material.

I am so excited to share this project with you. It is undoubtedly the most ambitious feat I’ve taken on as an artist, combining my passions for performance, composition, research, and writing. I hope my music brings joy and my writings spark curiosity during this trying time in our lives.

July 2020 Newsletter

Dear friends,

I hope you are all having a fabulous start to July!

It continues to be an uncertain time for many, including those of us in the music industry. I’m working hard to find ways to stay creative, explore my interests, and have fun.

I’m releasing my single Rag in Fourths TODAY! It is available on my Bandcamp store and 100% of the proceeds will be going to the Sphinx Organization.

The sheet music for Rag in Fourths is also available for purchase.

Rag in Fourths is part of my Ragtime Project – an exploration of the artists, culture, and trends of American music in the 1890s-1910s. The project is multi-dimensional including an EP, an ebook, blog posts, and sheet music.

More great news: My debut EP The New Groove is available for streaming on most major platforms! Please give it a listen and share it with your friends.

The EP is still available for purchase on Bandcamp.

While there is a lot of uncertainty in the world, I have found a silver lining during this time. It has been a luxury to be able to put so much time into my art, whether that has been through practicing, composing, recording, reading, listening, or blogging.

Thank you for joining me on this journey! I am so fortunate to have such a supportive community around my music and me.

Take care,
Sam


Featured Sounds

Virtual performance with EIKO + ERIKO

Sheet Music For Sale

Original compositions and arrangements for a variety of ensembles available on Noteflight Marketplace and Sheet Music Plus!


Latest From the Blog
Sneak peeks for future posts available on Patreon 

  • That Epidemic Rag – A coronavirus theme song from the Ragtime Era … [Read More
     
  • The New Groove: Now Available for Streaming – Celebrate my birthday by streaming The New Groove! Out on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and more … [Read More]
     
  • The Ragtime Revival of the 1970s – Learn about the figures who defined the Ragtime Revival of the 1970s – Eubie Blake, Joshua Rifkin, Gunther Schuller, and more …. [Read More]

The New Groove: Now Available for Streaming!

Today I am celebrating my birthday!

I am so thankful to be entering my next year of life being healthy, happy, and inspired. Thank you to everyone who has sent their birthday wishes. It means so much.

Join me in celebrating this milestone by streaming my EP The New Groove! You can find it on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube Music among many other places. And it is still available to purchase on Bandcamp. If you like it, please share it with your friends!

Thanks for continuing to support me and my music. Can’t wait to make more for you soon!

Ragtime Project Update

It has been an incredibly moving experience to work on my Ragtime Project. I have learned so much about the complicated, tragic, triumphant history of popular music in the United States through my research, reflection, composition, and analytical processes.

My original plan was to release the full project on July 3rd, but, after careful consideration, I decided to postpone the full release date to provide me ample time to put forward the best work I can. The music deserves the highest level of attention and there is still so much I want to learn! Stay tuned for a new release date.

However, I will be releasing a single from the Ragtime Project EP on Friday, July 3rd. I will be giving all the proceeds from the single to The Sphinx Organization, which has the mission of “transform[ing] lives through the power of diversity in the arts.”

I have already released a few blog posts encompassing the Ragtime Project and have more in the works so be on the lookout!

Ragtime Project Blog Series

Announcing My Next Project

In my next release, I look forward to exploring the music of Ragtime – the first popular music originating in the United States.More

I also compiled a list of resources I have used in my Ragtime research. I update this collection regularly.

I look forward to sharing more with you about the importance of this music and its relevance in today’s musical and societal landscapes.

OUT NOW: THE NEW GROOVE

I have wanted to put out music for a long time but was too afraid to do it. When will I be “good enough” at the saxophone? When will my compositions sound “original enough” to be worthy of being recorded? When will I have enough money to afford studio time, engineers, compensate musicians, promote, etc.? The pandemic made me realize that there will never be a “perfect” time to release music, that I will always be a work in progress, and that it’s about time to rip off the bandaid and put something out there!

I was really inspired by my peers and the amazing recordings, livestream concerts, and other creative pursuits they were accomplishing online. With the help of my boyfriend and YouTube, I learned how to use my new recording gear.

Then I started creating the music. My usual composition process involves me sitting at the piano and painstakingly try things out, writing them down on manuscript paper as I go. I took a different approach this time. I wrote all the songs starting from my saxophone. I thought more about layering different sounds/textures instead of long melodic lines. I incorporated some effects like distortion, echoes, octave doublings, and more. I never thought I would create music with such a strong technological component. But I realized that now is a time to try new things and step out of my comfort zone, and I’m so glad I did!

Time to get your groove on!