A deep passion for the power of music struck a six year old Sam Chess during his first piano lesson in Tucson, Arizona. Now, at 21, Sam is a pioneering trombonist and composer who plays in New York City and has traveled the world recording with jazz legends such as the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, among others. Sam has just released his first project as a band leader—an album of original arrangements and songs tiled “Hot Cereal”.
Sam is a graduate of the prestigious jazz studies program at the Juilliard School, where he studied closely with Elliot Mason, Steve Turre, Wynton Marsalis, James Burton, Dan Nimmer and Ben Wolfe. In this fertile atmosphere filled with inspiring musicians and thinkers alike, Sam has had the platform to pursue his mission—to help revive an important, forgotten piece of American culture in a society which has nearly forgotten it. Through a deep personal study of the historical and technical aspects of jazz, along with actively performing in clubs across New York, Sam is making strides to achieve his goal.
He has also been blessed with opportunities to bring his musical voice to some of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, including twice at the Marciac Jazz Festival in France with the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Wynton Marsalis Young Stars of Jazz. Other festivals Sam has played at include the Monterey, Montreux, Vienne, Umbria, La Spezia, and Montreal jazz festivals, as well as the Generations in Jazz festival in Mt. Gambier, Australia., In December of 2017, Sam toured the southern United States with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in addition to being the regular trombone substitute in the band.
Before Sam moved to New York to attend Juilliard, he grew up in Tucson, AZ. In this barren landscape, both in terms of water and jazz, Sam stayed musically nourished through his involvement with the Tucson Jazz Institute. Here he learned how to play jazz from the 1910’s to the 2010’s. In addition, Sam grew up with an extensive blues and jazz record collection from the legendary label, Chess Records, a label started by his grandfather, Phil Chess, and Phil’s brother Leonard. Growing up, Sam listened to many Chess records, both popular and obscure, and is honored to have included one on his debut album.
Sam Chess continues to teach, write, and play music all around the New York area.