Since moving to New York in 2002, Sadigursky continues to make his mark both as a leader and sideman. His series of albums of original music based on poetry and text entitled The Words Project have been acclaimed internationally. Noted music critic Steve Smith called them, “compelling and touchingly intimate...that rare anomaly: a jazz-and-poetry record that sounds utterly natural and convincing“, and went on to name Sadigursky’s debut album as one of Time Out New York’s "Top Ten Albums of 2007". The New York Times has called them ”gracefully high-minded explorations of poetic form.” Sadigursky has toured and recorded as a saxophonist and clarinetist with artists such as Brad Mehldau, Lucia Pulido, Gabriel Kahane, Tom Jones, Edmar Castaneda, Linda Oh, The Mingus Orchestra, Jamie Baum Septet, Ljova, Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano, La Cumbiamba eNeYe, and has been nominated for two Grammy awards for his work with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. As a composer, he has written for film and modern dance and has also published three books of original etudes for clarinet and saxophone. Sadigursky has appeared at some of the world's most prestigious venues and festivals, has performed for numerous Broadway shows, and appears on over twenty-five albums as a sideman.
Sam Sadigursky: Follow The Stick
Sam Sadigursky, a first-call sideman and bandleader across a broad spectrum of music, and an award-winning composer (Chamber Music America, The Jerome Foundation), debuts a brand new band on his new recording, Follow The Stick.
Follow The Stick is a sophisticated collection of original music from one of the most respected musicians on the New York scene. It is also Sam's "coming out party" as a clarinetist, which he has put front and center as of late. He explains, "It was a natural evolution in many ways, both practically and creatively. I started on saxophone, but began studying clarinet pretty early as well my father is a classically trained clarinetist and accordionist from the Soviet Union, who now plays mostly Klezmer and Eastern European folk music. I remember interviewing him for a 5th grade project and asking him what some of his dreams in life were, and he told me about wanting to learn to play jazz clarinet, something he’s always loved. About four or five years ago something really clicked for me with the instrument and I’ve put most of my energies into it, and people have been calling me more and more for my clarinet playing since then. Unlike the endless sea of jazz saxophone players, there aren't that many improvisers today playing clarinet at a high level, so it's allowed me to really create a little niche for myself, and creatively, I feel there's so much more room to explore with it. I really feel that it's my voice as an instrumentalist."
The music on Follow The Stick is comprised of new, and some not so new, original compositions, plus a modern take on the Glenn Miller hit, "String Of Pearls". Originally, Sadigursky planned on writing all new music for this group; things with a more overt sort of swing associated with this instrumentation (clarinet, trumpet, vibraphone, piano & drums), such as "Do The Dance", but, "when I started to fish through old notebooks for ideas I found so many nearly-completed old tunes of mine that never had life breathed into them. Having focused on those vocal albums for nearly ten years, there is still a huge backlog of instrumental material that I'm sifting through. However, I did write some new tunes for the group, things like 'Deadly Sins' and 'Math Music', and these might better reflect my thinking today - lots of meter changes and metric modulations - where many of the older tunes are more lead-sheet oriented and open," explained Sadigursky.
"In addition to all the different folk traditions that the clarinet is part of, there's such a great tradition of jazz clarinet that I'm still in the midst of discovering. I'm amazed at how much of it goes unnoticed these days - these clarinet greats were so prodigious. However, having come up as a saxophonist listening to Coltrane, Rollins, Henderson, Lovano, etc., I have all these other sounds in my head as well - you play any of that stuff on the saxophone and most people have heard it a thousand times, but play those influences on the clarinet and it actually sounds pretty fresh. To me, at least."