October 30th, 2022 8:30pm Stage 3
Originally from Columbus, OH, Sam Blakeslee is a New York City based, award-winning trombonist and composer. Since his arrival in NYC in August 2017, he has performed at iconic jazz clubs such as The 55 Bar, Smalls, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club, The Jazz Gallery, Zinc Bar, and the Blue Note. He can also be found performing and recording regularly with top-tier large ensembles like the Dan Pugach Nonet, Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows, Terraza Big Band, Manuel Valera’s New Cuban Express Big Band, Big Heart Machine, New Alchemy Jazz Orchestra, Emilio Solla’s Tango Jazz Orchestra, and New York Afro-Bop Alliance Big Band. Sam is an endorsing artist for Best American Craftsman (B.A.C.) trombones, as well as an endorsing artist for Denis Wick Mouthpieces and Mutes.
As a bandleader, Sam has independently released Sam Blakeslee Quintet – Selective Coverage (2017), which received glowing critical acclaim from several jazz publications, including a 4-star rating from All About Jazz) and Sam Blakeslee Large Group – Live at Blu Jazz (2018). The latter was originally released exclusively on Bandcamp, but will be digitally re-released on all streaming platforms on March 18th, 2022 by Cincinnati-based record label, Golden Mean Records.
His most recent, genre-spanning chamber project Sam Blakeslee & Wistful Thinking – The Long Middle featuring Chris Coles (alto saxophone), Brandon Coleman (guitar), and Matt Wiles (bass), was released on NYC Jazz Record Label Outside In Music on July 30th, 2021 and received critical acclaim from JazzIz Magazine JazzTrail, and Textura publications, among others. “Wistful Thinking doesn't, in other words, split into rhythm players and soloists. Instead, all four are integrally involved at sustaining flow whilst also weaving into the playing moments of individual expression.” - Ron Schepper, Textura. In November 2021, Wistful Thinking also released a holiday single and his arrangement of “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” on Outside In Music, which landed on several editorial and curated streaming playlists.
Busy Body, The second and forthcoming album from Wistful Thinking, features more fusion influence and dives into the vast world of electronic production. The album will feature percussionist Jamey Haddad, woodwind phenom/composer Brian Krock, and Grammy-nominated drummer and composer Dan Pugach. Busy Body will be released on October 28th, 2022 on NYC jazz record label, Outside In Music..
As an active composer for large ensembles, Sam is currently a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in NYC under the direction of Andy Farber and Alan Ferber. In 2018, he was the recipient of the David Baker Prize in Composition from Ravinia Steans Music Institute and was also a 2020 COVID-19 Commission Grant recipient from International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers.
"In a year fraught with anxiety and isolation, there are some musicians who have found powerful opportunities for musical and spiritual growth. As evidenced by his stunning new release, Sam Blakeslee is clearly one of them. This new body of work reflects a trombonist who thinks and plays like a composer, patiently waiting for each new idea to be heard before delivering and developing. As I listened to this album, I remembered something that Bob Brookmeyer used to say, "The line is everything." I can promise that if you follow the line that permeates Sam's new album, you will be richly rewarded with a story both unique and beautiful, and most importantly, honest."
Alan Ferber, Grammy-nominated Trombonist/Composer
“Wistful Thinking doesn't, in other words, split into rhythm players and soloists. Instead, all four are integrally involved at sustaining flow whilst also weaving into the playing moments of individual expression.” - Ron Schepper, Textura