There is a saying amongst older jazz musicians that goes, “If you want to hear what a player is really made of, listen to him play a ballad, or the blues.” On his most recent release, Blue Soliloquy, Professor Sam Newsome proves that he is a man who indeed knows the blues. Playing a solo soprano saxophone, but sounding like a one man band, Newsome a soulful, majestic performances that take the listener on a sonic journey across the globe, touching the dirty southern Delta blues of (“Blues for Robert Johnson”), offering hints of the Far East (“Blue Beijing”), and paying homage to the jazz clubs of New York (“Blue Monk”).
Throughout Blue Soliloquy, Newsome shows a masterful understanding of the pentatonic scale that is a long running commonality in African and Far Eastern music, harking back the original blues notes sung by salves brought to AmericaWestern Africa. In the process, Newsome has liberated the soprano saxophone, creating sounds that are uniquely his own.
Blue Soliloquy is out now.