“Sam Bardfeld is a marvelously gifted violinist, composer and arranger.”
—K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York
“Bardfeld has a loose arm and a mercurial mind . . .” **** 4 Stars
—Paul de Barros, DownBeat Magazine
“My advice? Go where he goes.” —Jim Macnie, Village Voice
“Bardfeld seems at home in a relaxed style that incorporates so much of the history of jazz” – All Music Guide
Sam Bardfeld is a violinist, composer and arranger. He is a member of The Jazz Passengers and a frequent collaborator of Bruce Springsteen's - a veteran of three recordings and two tours. He has worked with a long list of jazz, pop, folk and experimental acts including Elvis Costello, John Zorn, Calexico, Anthony Braxton, Debbie Harry, Steven Bernstein, John Cale, Kris Davis, The String Trio of NY, The Red Clay Ramblers, Nancy Sinatra, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco and The Soldier String Quartet among others.
Bardfeld’s recordings, The Great Enthusiasms (BJUR, 2017), Taxidermy (CIMP, 1999) and Periodic Trespasses (FreshSounds, 2006) have earned acclaim, including a “4-Star" rating in Downbeat magazine, raves in Jazz Times, Jazziz magazine and “4-Stars" in All Music Guide (first two). He has performed with his own group at jazz festivals and clubs throughout Europe including Banlieues Bleues (Paris), Sud-Tirol (Italy) and Porgy and Bess (Vienna).
In addition to being a member of the Jazz Passengers, Sam's jazz playing is featured as a member of Roy Nathanson's Sotto Voce and Joel Harrison's String Choir and he has toured and/or recorded with Michael Attias' Sextet, Royal Hartigan's Blood Drum Spirit, Butler/Bernstein, Steven Bernstein's MTO, Anthony Braxton's Trillium Orchestra and many other groups.
Sam’s arranging credits include work for Calexico, Nancy Sinatra, film music for Hedwig and the Angry Inch composer Stephen Trask, and work on the Broadway-bound production of Lone Star Love with The Red Clay Ramblers. He has also served as string contractor for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (2009 MSG and 2016 US tour), Gilberto Santa Rosa (Carnegie Hall) and Chuck Prophet (2014 US tour).
In the 1990’s, Sam’s immersion in NYC’s fertile Salsa and Latin Jazz scene led to writing a book, Latin Violin (Hal Leonard, 2002), considered to be the authoritative work on the Afro-Cuban violin tradition. He is also an instructor of jazz violin at the New School jazz program in NYC.
Sam studied violin technique with Gerald Beal and Joey Corpus and improvisation with Bill Barron, George Garzone and Richie Beirach. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1990 where he studied music, anthropology and history. In 1991 he received a year-long Ford Foundation grant to study ethnomusicology at Wesleyan.