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Sam Newbould - 'Homing'

Updated: Jun 13

SAM NEWBOULD – ‘HOMING’ (ZenneZ Records)

Release date 7 June 2024

Sam Newbould may not be a familiar name to many jazz fans on this side of the North Sea, but the Amsterdam based saxophonist and composer was born and raised in rural Northern England and his first two CDs ‘Blencathra’ and ‘Concrete Caterpillar’ dealt with his early life experiences, including cycling up and down the forbidding Malham Cove, an experience not to be taken lightly and also an indication of Sam’s sense of humour which comes to the fore in many of his compositions and even extends to the CD’s cover, an unposed image taken while Sam was making a brew.

His third CD, ‘Homing’ has a more international feel to it; indeed, the press release states that Sam’s ‘feeling of home isn’t tied to a particular place anymore, and the album is inspired by that process of building a new feeling of home’.

The album’s opener Barba Tenus Sapientes (‘Wise as far as the beard’ for non Latin scholars) gives a further insight into Sam’s sense of humour. The piece starts with a light funky groove, but this is interspersed with a number of quirky interjections before Xavi Torres’ piano takes in a Monkish mood, although not as spiky. Newbould’s alto follows underscored by Bernard van Rossum’s tenor sax with backing voices adding a third layer.

The curiously titled Below The Elbow follows which features another solo from pianist Torres; his love of jazz and Beethoven combining beautifully on this track. This piece is reprised twice later; both brief, the second being a bass and piano duet which is simply sublime.

Anglesey is a slow, contemplative and, in a way, sad piece. One imagines a gentle stroll on a breezy overcast day. Sam’s wordless voice underscores the underlying feeling of melancholy that pervades throughout.

The album’s title track is inspired by Newbould’s temporary adoption of a Polish homing pigeon and is multi layered, giving hints of new beginnings and a broadening of horizons.

The bass and drums of Jort Terwijn and Guy Salamon are understated yet pivotal to the success of Homing.

Little Boy Ghost is as disturbing as its title, very sad but beautiful in a simple way. This is followed by Odd Jobs. For some reason I was expecting something very upbeat from the title, but at first this is not so. However, as the piece progresses, a number of ‘odd’ interjections crop up; the piece is very melodic, but at one point it almost sounds as though Terwijn is playing a different tune but then, as if by magic, slips back into line just before the piece’s abrupt close.

Believe You Me is upbeat and full of Sam’s Yorkshire humour; one almost imagines an ‘over the garden fence’ conversation, I’ll tell thee.

Twinkle Twinkle is an homage to Monk’s Trinkle Tinkle and has become a significant part of the band’s live set, if Sam’s YouTube channel is anything to go by. A fine, boppish alto solo is supported by Torres’ comping, and the tight, yet languid backing of bass and drums, before van Rossum’s tenor re-joins to bring the piece back to the head before it seems to almost disintegrate at the close.

The final track, Dog Dance is a definite foot-tapper backed by whistles and Salamon’s decidedly Central/South American style percussion and is an ideal set closer.

All in all, this is a highly accomplished and assured third album with a certain ‘coming of age’ feel which will hopefully bring this son of Yorkshire - and now citizen of the world - to a much wider audience.

Sam Newbould – alto saxophone, voice, clarinet, compositions

Bernard van Rossum – tenor saxophone

Xavi Torres – piano, synthesizer, Wurlitzer

Jort Terwijn – double bass

Guy Salamon – drums

Beth Aggett – voice


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