Sam & Amira

In the new film, Sam & Amira, my original composition, “The Two of Us,” from Renovation, is playing during an intense and emotional dialogue between the main character Sam (Martin Starr) and his friend Jack (David Rasche). The music begins around the 41 minute mark in the film.

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Memories of the Artists’ Quarter

The world will be loosing yet another famous jazz club at the end of the year (2013); the great Artists’ Quarter. I was asked by the jazz website BeBopified to share some memories of the club for their series, Pleased and Flipped: Memories of the Artists’ Quarter.   “After almost 20 years in St. Paul – first on Jackson Street in Lowertown, then in the Hamm Building near Rice Park – the esteemed and beloved Artists’ Quarter jazz club will close January 1. As we near the end of a jazz era, we’re asking musicians (and a few others) whose…

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Backwards

In the new film, Backwards, my songs, “Little Mary,” from Party’s Over/Begun, and “Frances Loop,” from Renovation, are playing in the club when the main character Abigail (Sarah Megan Thomas) runs into her ex-boyfriend Geoff (James Vanderbeek), then, as their group conversation dwindles to just those two main characters, “The Two of Us” (also from Renovation), begins to play as they speak in private. This club scene begins around the 38 minute mark in the film.

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Party in Zurich

Party’s Over/Begun Back in the spring of 2001, the Jaztronauts invited me to play a three-week gig with them in Zurich, Switzerland. The quartet consisted of sax, piano, bass and drums, but because of this specific contract, they needed a fifth member, so I got the call. The club was a little room in the historic “old town” part of the city called the Casa Bar. They usually hosted bands for at least a week at a time, with local groups covering the off nights. We stayed in a suite of apartments on the second floor of the building, directly…

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The New Record Deal

Have University positions become the new major label record deal for today’s jazz musician? When I moved to New York in the late ’80s/early ’90s, [we] were either looking to play in the band of someone famous or to get signed by a major record label. Today, since neither is an option, university positions seem to be the “new hustle,” as one of my colleagues likes to put it. – Sam Newsome, quoted from Downbeat, June 2010. He is on faculty at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus. The Past The legendary “record deal” is an endangered species. It was the…

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John Denver Epiphany

I was enjoying a rare evening at home with my wife, listening to some records (yes – records). We were going through some sides that haven’t been spun in ages. A touch of jazz, a bit of disco, some “easy listening”, and then we ran across a record that I needed to spin again and again and again. It was John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High. Fantastic! He was a brilliant tunesmith and that song “Prisoners” is a work of art. So here I am living in an entirely Dominican neighborhood of Manhattan listening to John Denver… Huh!?! What’s going on…

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