Sam Blakeslee’s Wistful Thinking – 10PM
May 1 @ 10:00 pm - 11:15 pm$20
Friday, May 1, 2020 10:00 PM – 11:15 PM EST
Sam Blakeslee – trombone/compositions
Brian Krock – woodwinds
Evan Main – piano
Marcos Varela – bass
Sam Blakeslee’s Wistful Thinking is his newest chamber jazz project that features the trombone in a more intimate setting through brand new composed chamber pieces as well as more traditional stylings. Inspired by the small bands of Bob Brookmeyer and Kenny Wheeler, the repertoire of Wistful Thinking is filled with lyrical and heartfelt melodies. The evening will also feature Brian Krock on a myriad of woodwinds throughout the set, providing an extra texture to the already unique timbre of the group. Wistful Thinking recorded their debut album in March 2020 with plans for a fall release date.
Originally from Columbus, OH, Sam Blakeslee is a New York City based, award-winning trombonist and composer. Sam has performed at multiple jazz festivals across the world such as the Fano Jazz Festival, Mosciano San Angelo Jazz Festival, and Parma Jazz Festival in Italy as well as the Deutsche Musikfest in Chemnitz, Germany.
Since his arrival in NYC in August 2017, he has already performed iconic jazz clubs such as The 55 Bar, Smalls, Birdland, and the Blue Note. He can also be found performing regularly with top-tier large ensembles such as the Grammy-Nominated Dan Pugach Nonet, Manuel Valera’s New Cuban Express Big Band, New Alchemy Jazz Orchestra, Terraza Big Band, Emilio Solla’s Tango Jazz Orchestra and Afro-Bop Alliance. Sam has also performed with artists such as Joe Lovano, Sean Jones, Dick Oatts, Ingrid Jensen, Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Jiggs Whigham, Aretha Franklin, Dominick Farinacci, Bernard Purdie, Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson, and Derrick Gardner. He is currently a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in NYC under the direction of Andy Farber and Alan Ferber. Sam will be going into the studio in March 2020 to document his 3rd album as a leader entitled “Wistful Thinking,” a drummerless chamber jazz project with Cincinnati’s Brandon Coleman on guitar, Matt Wiles on bass, and special guest alto saxophonist Chris Coles. Sam is also an endorsing artist for Best American Craftsman (B.A.C.) trombones based out of Kansas City, MO.
In addition to his latest endeavor “Wistful Thinking”, Sam also leads the “Sam Blakeslee Large Group” which is a 17-piece contemporary jazz orchestra that features original compositions and arrangements in a variety of styles and moods. The Large Group held a monthly residency at Blu Jazz in Akron, OH from January 2016-July 2017. Blu Jazz was recently voted one of the “Worlds Best Jazz Clubs” by Downbeat Magazine. Through the Blu Jazz Masterclass Foundation, the group featured many special guest artists including from Akron-guitar virtuoso Dan Wilson (and member of the Joey DeFrancesco’s Trio and Christian McBride’s Tip City), Grammy-Nominated NYC jazz artists Dan Pugach & Nicole Zuraitis, Dave Smith, as well as renowned pianist and composer Bill Dobbins. One of the artistic missions of the Large Group is to constantly be expanding the repertoire of the music across many styles, leaving both the audience and band members guessing what each concert will hold. A live compilation of the residency at Blu Jazz was released exclusively on Bandcamp in October 2018 and featured the talents of Northeast Ohio jazz artists and longtime musical compatriots Dan Wilson, Chris Coles, Dave Morgan, Bobby Selvaggio, and Theron Brown.
The Sam Blakeslee Quintet recorded their debut album “Selective Coverage” which was released in October of 2017. The album received glowing critical acclaim from several jazz publications, as well as a 4-star rating from All About Jazz.
In March 2018 Sam was awarded the David Baker Prize in Composition for his piece Slow Growth/New Growth from the Ravinia Steans Music Institute’s Bridges: An International Jazz and Classical Fusion Competition. His piece was premiered on June 9th, 2019 at Martin Theater for the 2018 Ravinia Festival alongside the other two finalists Zach Bornheimer and Gene Knific, as well as RSMI faculty members Rufus Reid, Billy Childs, and Nathan Davis. The concert featured the world-renowned Avalon String Quartet, who served as the ensemble in residence.
In June 2019, he was invited back for a second time as a Composer-in-Residence at RSMI to have the piece performed again at Bennett Gordon Hall to start the Ravinia Festival’s 2019 season.
Sam has also participated in some of the world’s most prestigious workshops and residencies. In 2010, Sam was selected one of fifteen people nationwide to attend The Steans Institute for the Young Artist at Ravinia where he studied with Curtis Fuller, Rufus Reid, Dr. Nathan Davis, and Dr. David Baker. In 2011, he also attended Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center which is a two week residence where his original music was broadcast to a worldwide audience. In May 2014, Sam attended the International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centr where he studied with Vjiay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, Tyshawn Sorey, Nir Felder, Warren Wolf, among others.
Sam holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies from Youngstown State as well as a Master of Music in Classical Performance from the University of Akron. During his time at the University of Akron, he was a member and composer for the Jazz Trombone Group, which won first place in the International Trombone Association’s Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition. In June of 2013, he traveled to Columbus, GA to play his original music at the International Trombone Festival with the University of Akron Jazz Trombone Group. He is also well versed in classical music and was a 2013 recipient of a Tuesday Musical Scholarship in Brass. As a former resident of the Cleveland & Akron, OH area from 2013-2017, he worked extensively in Jazz Education and served as the Instructor of Jazz Trombone at Youngstown State University from 2013-2014, Director of the Jazz Prep Program at Cuyahoga Community College from 2014-2017, as well as the Instructor of Improvisation at the Cleveland Institute of Music.