Adam Niewood (Saxophones, various woodwinds, EWI / electronic wind instrument, Drums) is a jazz improviser and American composer living in Manhattan New York, USA.
Adam grew up in a musical household in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His father Gerry: an improvising jazz musician and freelancing woodwind doubler. His mother Gurly: a classical clarinetist and pianist, with a full-roster of local piano students.
"Piano lessons on the first floor - Jazz on the 3rd floor - There was music floating around in the house every day!!!"
This environment lead to a young Adam marching around the dining room table with a penny whistle, and first tooting into a soprano Saxophone at age 2.
By the time Adam was five years old, he had tagged along with his parents on two world tours with Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel, and Liza Minnelli.
Adam's first instrument was the clarinet in fourth grade, for instrumental music in NJ public schools, but he quickly gravitated towards the Alto saxophone. In high school Adam's band director decided to switch Adam from Alto to Tenor.
"The sound of the Tenor got me. This is when I started checking out my father’s recordings. A couple years later during my junior year in highschool, I got the great opportunity to play 2nd tenor in a Big band including: Joe Romano, Larry Covelli, Lew Soloff, Don Menza, my father Gerry, Steve Gadd, etc. for a short tour... That was all I needed to convince me that I wanted to go to music school, and play music professionally."
Education: A scholarship covering his tuition lead Adam to Berklee College of music in September 1995. After two years, eager to be closer to New York, Adam transfered to William Paterson University, where he earned his Bachelors degree in Music performance. After two years of saxophone study with Dr. David Demsey, Demsey recommended Adam for an opening as a professor at a neighboring university. From 2000 – 2003 Adam worked as the professor of Saxophone, Jazz History, and small Ensembles at Montclair State University in NJ. After one year working as a teacher, still eager to learn and develop, Adam was chosen as one of the first 18 students to attend The Juilliard School of Music's fledging Jazz program, which initiated his change of address from NJ to Manhattan NY in 2001. Two years later, after being awarded a scholarship covering 100% of his tuition to attend Manhattan School of music, Adam left the faculty at Montclair University in September 2003 to concentrate fully on his studies, graduating with a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance in May 2005. And wrapping-up his formal Jazz-education, Adam graduated from the Juilliard School (earning his Artist Diploma) May 2009.
Life Experience: Drummer Bill Goodwin bumped into Adam at an IAJE conference in New York. Bill had worked many times with Gerry, and took a liking to Adam right away, and started calling him for gigs. “For the longest time, any playing I would do was in a practice room, in School, or an informal jam session. Meeting Bill led to many performances and recordings that helped to shape my sound and overall approach to playing music. I’m very fortunate that a seasoned professional was patient enough to take me under his wing. We have played countless gigs together, in numerous band configurations including: Bill Charlap, Jim McNeely, Rufus Reid, Warren Vache, Vic Juris, Steve Gilmore, Gene Bertoncini, etc. All situations I wouldn’t have found myself in, if not for Bill. He is a fabulous musician and I’ve learned a lot about playing music from him. He is also a fabulous producer of fine Jazz recordings."
On March 18, 2003, Adam released his first recording on the Native Language label with the collective group SBW. Later in 2004, Adam co-produced along with Bill Goodwin a CD for his father Gerry entitled "Facets"; and Bill also produced "Introducing Adam Niewood" his first record as a leader with Eric Lewis on Piano, Matt Brewer on Bass, and Ben Perowsky on Drums, released June of 2004.
Finding a new home for his music on Innova Recordings: Aug 12, 2008 marked the official street-date for “Adam Niewood & his Rabble Rousers Volumes I & II” a double-CD showcasing Niewood’s recent original compositions written for a larger shape shifting ensemble featuring: Jesse Lewis, Kristjan Randalu, Matt Brewer, Chris Higgins, Rohin Khemani, and Greg Ritchie.
Innova Recordings: the label for the American Composers forum, is a non-for-profit organization that is not interested in ownership of the intellectual property of its artists. It is a unique opportunity for Adam who is proud to join a roster of artists like: Steve Reich, Anthony Braxton, Susie Ibarra, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. “I feel extremely fortunate to be able to find such a supportive open-minded label. The people at Innova did not try to steer me in any direction – giving me total control over how I am presented as an artist.”
Adam is enjoying the "rollercoaster" lifestyle of playing original experimental music in New York; Finding a balance between traveling with many different bands playing clubs, and presenting clinics at schools across the country. While also spending time at home writing music, playing it with the numerous musicians who live in the artistic epicenter that is New York… Aside from Adam's own project "The Rabble Rousers," you can hear Adam as a sideman with numerous bands: It all depends on the day...
Most recently: Adam is excited about his next recording project, produced again by Bill Goodwin, recorded August 15th and 16th, 2010. Volume I of a multi-CD project called "Niewood plays Niewood", the first CD will feature: John Scofield, John Patitucci, and Jack DeJohnette. This project will focus on un-recorded music composed in the last 10 years by Adam's father Gerry Niewood. With close to 80 unrecorded compositions, by the late great Gerry Niewood, "there is work to be done, a volume of work left behind that he intended to document... I feel driven to do this for him." says Niewood.
[From L-R: Adam Niewood, John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Goodwin, John Scofield]
[Jack DeJohnette and Adam Niewood]
[From L-R: Tracy Allan, Scott Petito, Jack DeJohnette,, John Patitucci, Adam Niewood, John Scofield]
And the saga continues...
Check out the itinerary / or www.myspace.com/niewood for more information on what Adam is doing, and where he's playing next.
Note: Adam records his gigs and posts many of them as a FREE download. check out the music page for free mp3 downloads of gigs, and the new video page.