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Sam Ospovat: Getting Angular

On his leader debut, Ospovat finds a place in the current crop of drummer/composer royalty

Sam Ospovat
(photo: Ginger Fierstein)

With the release of Ride Angles (Skirl), his first album as a leader, Sam Ospovat has joined the ranks of forward-looking drummer/composers like Ches Smith, Kate Gentile, Dan Weiss, and Tyshawn Sorey: artists who are fearlessly going against the jazz grain.

Sipping a beer at a bar near his Sunset Park, Brooklyn home base, the 41-year-old Ospovat—an acrobatic heavy-hitter whose command of proggy intricacies and rock-informed grooves has helped propel left-field groups like Enablers, Ava Mendoza’s Unnatural Ways, and guitarist Brandon Seabrook’s Die Trommel Fatale to the next level—is sizing up his place among his peers now that he’s striking out on his own. Does he fit in with the current drummer/composer movement? “Compositionally, yes,” he says, “because these pieces are totally a part of that but also unique within it, so I feel like I’m really contributing something to the heart of that movement.”

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