Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy



Video Feature: Sam Newsome & Virginia Genta @ iBeam on July 10, 2016

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blindfold Test w/ Ted Panken



I'm happy to announce that my first Downbeat blindfold test conducted by jazz journalist Ted Panken is now available in the April issue. We did the test during the last week of December of 2012 at LIU Brooklyn in the Spector Lounge, a few doors down from my office.

Thinking back on it, it felt very relaxing being in that backroom during the Christmas break, especially with hardly anyone in the entire building--except for a few professors doing some 11th hour grading. 

And I remember that day being particularly cold and rainy, too.  We were at the beginning stages of what was to be a mild snowstorm. But fortunately the hang with Ted was warm and cordial. 

The last time we got together was at his brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn,  back in 1998 when he was hired to write the press release for my, then, soon-to-be-released recording, Sam Newsome &  Global Unity. He wanted to sit down with me face-to-face and listen to the recording to get my insight on things.
                                                                          

The premise for this blindfold test was that it was to be all about the soprano saxophone. Which might explain some of my comments, which seemed to be somewhat harsh on players whom I felt didn't sound like soprano players. What can I say? Someone has got to advocate for the instrument. And a lot of people asked me how many of the players was I able to identify. But I wasn't too hung up on trying to score a 100. I think the purpose of these kinds of interviews is to get insight into the artist's perspective on music. As a matter of fact, blindfold tests where all that the musician does is name the players on the recordings, end up being very boring.  I usually come away thinking, "Man, I could have just Googled this." I think we would get more interesting responses if the name was changed to "Hey, What Do You Think About This?"

But I was very appreciative of Ted and the folks at Downbeat for giving me the opportunity. I know Downbeat can be a very hype-oriented magazine (or as they say down South, "hype-orientated"), so I'm glad they were open to doing something a little different, this time around. 

Who knows? Maybe there's hope!





4 comments:

  1. Thank you for those wonderfully honest and incisive comments. I love your focus on finding an individual voice and your open admiration for those travelling the same road.

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  2. thanks, Anon. Individual personalities breathe life and freshness into the music.

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