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Sam Newsome

Saxophonist Sam Newsome first came into prominence on the New York jazz scene as a member of the Terence Blanchard Quintet in the early 1990s, whose core members consisted of Blanchard on trumpet, Bruce Barth on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass, Troy Davis on drums, and Newsome on the tenor saxophone. The group toured all over the world as well as recorded several CDs for the Columbia/Sony label, including the critically-acclaimed “Malcolm X Jazz Suite.”

Newsome, who was feeling uninspired by his sound on the tenor, along with his inability to shake his early influences, seemed to find hope and inspiration in the sound of the soprano saxophone, which, consequently, lead to his radical change in 1996 that resulted in him trading in the larger tenor saxophone, for the smaller, more difficult soprano saxophone. When asked why he made the switch, Newsome said, “The sound of the soprano allowed me to play with the freedom of not having to carry on my shoulders, decades of the great tenor saxophone legacy. I felt that the sound that I was producing was my own. That was very liberating.”

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