"You are a baaad dude! I am so happy for you. Great family, great career ...what more could one ask for?"
- Michael Brecker, June 2nd 2006
"Adam has one of the best Tenor sounds I've heard anyone make!"
- Jon Van Wie, Feb 3 2001
"Niewood is the son of the late Gerry Niewood and has previously recorded one other CD as a leader. This 118 minute double CD set features a crew of young NYC-based musicians performing in a wide variety of post-bop styles, with Niewood playing five different types of saxophones and clarinet and bass clarinet. The musicians make use of timbral variety by alternating between electric and acoustic bass, piano and Rhodes, various forms of percussion, and guitar. All tunes were either composed by Niewood or collectively improvised.
The group name is well chosen; this is not a recording for those who don’t like to hear musicians using their chops. The musicians easily establish themselves as professionals in this regard, and Niewood and guitarist Jesse Lewis are especially aggressive soloists. There is a relatively high amount of variety in the music, some tunes are reminiscent of Jan Garbarek’s less pastoral 70’s work, some of the first edition of Weather Report with guitar shredding added to the ingredients, and there are other stylistic variations as well.
This package might have been better reduced as one CD; few will want to hear both discs back to back. Nonetheless, Niewood’s group is to be credited for producing two CDs worth of original, varied, chops-required, hard core jazz music."
- By John Schu (in JazzTimes 04/02/10). [link]
"Post modern jazz musicians like New York-based multi-reed instrumentalist Adam Niewood are sometimes more adroit at pushing boundaries in terms of incorporating non-traditional instruments and equally non-traditional compositions. Niewood wrote most of the tracks on Epic Journey, Volumes I & II, composing with a mind toward letting the instruments speak in their own voices while overlapping a bigger picture as the main anchor of each piece. The result is what might be imagined, if the entire quintet had an even-hand in creating each selection. In fact, Niewood's group, the Rabble Rousers, fully improvises almost half of the two-disc set.
Volume I opens with "Demented Lullaby," sounding almost conventional at the start before quickly breaking off slightly off-centered and with rapid chord changes from pianist Kristjan Randalu. Niewood's saxophone solo is self-assured and imaginative, but he doesn't attempt to dominate the proceedings, giving both Randalu and bassist Matt Brewer a good share of outstanding solo time. The nine-minute "Where's the Cat" begins ballad-like, before Niewood's extended solo starts to generate some real heat. Randalu, here on Fender Rhodes, carries much of the second half without descending into fusion. "Out of the Woods, for Now...," at an ambitious twelve minutes, is loaded with time changes and rapid, John Coltrane-like lines from Niewood on tenor. Guitarist, Jesse Lewis takes a long solo that, in its late stage, brings to mind Carlos Santana. It's a great piece in which to lose one's self, but with no sense of isolation from the music.
What may be surprising is that the two most melodic pieces in the set are found in Volume II's free improvisation subset. A short, moving bass solo from Chris Higgins on "Loved Ones" blends into a beautifully soulful performance by Niewood on tenor. The piece transitions into an equally striking solo by Randalu. "Calm Before the Storm" is a bit more animated, but again its satisfying harmonies at the center of the work add contrasting dimensions to the music. Randalu floats above Niewood's fluid lines like a dream sequence, while Rohin Khemani's cymbals tie the two together. In contrast, the second volume closes with "Five Corridors," a far more aggressive free jazz piece, though it is neither free improvisation nor discordant.
Volumes Iand II are subtitled "Based on a True Story" and "Epic Journey," respectively. The significance of the labels is unclear, but two discs are primarily distinguished by composed music and the free improvisation found on seven of the nine tracks on Volume II. There is, however, enough of an improvisational feel to the composed music, and tautness in the free improvisations, to blur the lines between them. Niewood has played with this group for a number of years, and the symmetry amongst its members is obvious. Niewood is an extraordinarily talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, and Epic Journey deserves a wide audience."
- Karl Ackermann (in All About Jazz 04/25/10) [link]
"Adam Niewood & His Rabble Rousers - Epic Journeys Volumes I & II (Double CD, Innova Recordings, Jazz) This beautifully packaged set features two CDs from Adam Niewood & His Rabble Rousers. The first disc is more structured and features all original compositions by Niewood. The second disc begins and ends with Niewood compositions...but the remaining seven tracks are free group improvisations. There's a lot to take in here...in total these discs feature approximately two hours' worth of music. Joining Niewood on these recordings are Kristjan Randalu, Jesse Lewis, Chris Higgins, Matt Brewer, Rohin Khemani, and Greg Ritchie. We initially guessed that after spinning these CDs a few times we would end up having a strong preference for one disc or the other...but this was not the case. Each has its own strengths and they both hold up equally well. Adam's precise saxophone playing drives the proceedings...but the supporting players play a pivotal role in fleshing out the sound. Overall these recordings sound like modern jazz that is highly influenced by early classic jazz artists from the 1950s and 1960s. As is always the case with Innova Recordings' releases...the sound quality is impeccable (Much thanks to engineer Paul Wickliffe, producers Bill Goodwin and Niewood, and THE BAND). These discs are packaged in a beautifully designed digipak sleeve. Impressive artsy stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)"
- www.babysue.com (in the Aug 2008 reviews).
"I am a big fan of Adam Niewood. I am also a big fan of his Dad Gerry. This debut CD is a killer! Another coup for the producer Bill Goodwin. The opener, "Shorty's Shuffle" features soprano lead with Adam playing some tenor on the head to good effect. The rhythm feel is good on this and Bill gets a great sound out of the ensemble. Eric's great solo tips in trilling. Adam adds his father on flute and bass clarinet on the in and out head giving it a rich sound. "Philly Groove" drips with funk like a cheese-steak sandwich. Once again Adam chooses the soprano for a great solo outing. Another fine solo from Eric Lewis with Matt and Ben lending total support to all. Notice the nice transition to the out chorus. Adam next mines the rich vein of Beatles material. I love his warm Warne Marshian/Martian approach to "And I love her," Good stuff! Eric sets up the viewpoint to "Prelude to Kay Marie" with a gospel-like, funky balladic intro. I don't know Kay Marie, but from the setup I gather she is beautiful, soulful, spiritual and honest; and on the tune "Kay Marie" it turns out to be all true. I love happy endings! "Pinocchio" opens with a fantastic drum solo from Ben Perowsky. I think he must dig the producer's drumming-I know I do! The cats all off their respective caps to Wayne Shorter on this. The brisk tempo never lets up, swinging nicely all through Adams great solo. This cat has chops but doesn't show off- he plays music! Dad has to be a proud man! Matt and Ben lock in on this with Eric whose sole further defines the group's intentions. "Wayne's World" is a spacey excursion rooted in earthy values. The rhythm section travels effortlessly through the free metric continuum. This is a real band with group values, all reacting with the speed of light to each other. Eric's piano sets the scene for Adam's conversation with his Dad on "Heard That Before." The bop roots show on this one. The kid was raised right! "Hopscotch" is a minimalist romp, mono-thematic development and different. I love it when the young cats take it out! There is an 8/8 blues feel on "Blues For Ball" Cannon would have loved it! Very Trane-like and the Real McCoy! Adam again chooses the soprano for "Fulfillment". His solo has strong compositional ingredients, concise and clear. The debut CD closes with "Nervous Brunch", a sort of Harry Partch meets Lennie Tristano. A good close with a tidy dialogue with the drums and Tenor into an aggressive tempo home... Well done!!!
I look forward to many more CD's from this talented bunch of cats. And
Adam Niewood is indeed a chip off of the good lumber that is his Dad."
- Phil Woods, Del. Water. Gap 6/28/04
"Yes, Adam is the son of noted jazz saxophonist, flutist, etc. Gerry Niewood. I thought I would answer that before you asked. His mother Gurly Niewood is also a gifted musician. It always helps to have genes like that.
Epic Journey Volumes I & II (2 CDs) comprises many unrecorded original Adam Niewood compositions that had been piling up over the years. They are performed by a couple of talented groups of musicians, whom he calls the Rabble Rousers, familiar with the material thanks to much collaboration with Niewood.
"Demented Lullaby," Volume I's first cut, is the prelude for two diverse jazz sets. Swirling saxophones introduce the piece, which lives in the basement level. This is a lullaby for which you keep the curtains drawn and the doors locked. The story is told in circular piano arpeggios, a throbbing bassline and textural rhythms. Niewood's flowing playing advances the tale. Plot twists are indicated by his stunted blowing. This is not a feel-good bedtime story. In that sense, it is demented. But it gets the job done. The tune successfully psyches you up for the next chapters of the impressive opus that will become an Epic Journey. After all, that is what rabble rousers are supposed to do."
- Walter Kolosky, Jazz.com
"ADAM NIEWOOD/Epic Journey V. 1 & 2:
With his pop being one of Chuck Mangione¹s original sidekicks, it¹s fair to
say that sax comes naturally and easily to this saxman. Using the double CD
format to push boundaries and flex his wings, Niewood goes from the straight
and narrow to the wild and woolly. A rising comer garnering admiration from
saxman that have come before him, Niewood easily vindicates on all counts.
This collection is snappy with energy and creativity to spare. A sure bet
for anyone up for a wild ride.
"There's almost nothing more thrilling than listening to a section of improvised music as its inner shape begins to form. Oh, sure, sometimes music of this sort doesn't really have a shape, the energy and texture being more important than form. With "A Rap Tap Tap In The Night," Adam Niewood and his cohorts shift mid-song from meandering (and I mean that in the best possible way) sax, percussion and piano that spends a great deal of time on texture, to a more modal approach. I'm imagining A Love Supreme turned up a few notches."
- Mark Saleski, Jazz.com
"Presenting a double CD set of original and mostly freestyle improvised music, Manhattan-based saxophonist and composer Adam Niewood turns in a marvelous performance on the reeds where he plays all five saxophones and the clarinet. Adam happens to be the son of saxophonist great Gerry Niewood whom I first heard play on an early 70s two record set of a Chuck Mangione concert with the Rochester Philharmonic. This Niewood version prefers the creative and sophisticated structure of free jazz providing specific tempos, grooves and moods you will not find in more traditional jazz music.
Niewood is featured prominently here as he plays the lead on various instruments. The album offers a great deal of improvisational material where seven of the nine tracks on disc two, are clearly indicated in the liner notes as “Free Group Improvisation,” noticing the listener that improvised music is what your going to hear, no standards, melodies or contemporary harmonies here.
Joining the saxophonist on this epic journey are Rabble Rousers guitarist Jesse Lewis, pianist Kristjan Randalu, bassist Matt Brewer and Chris Higgins, and drummers Robin Khemani and Greg Ritchie.
If you favor the free style improvised jazz genre, then Adam Niewood’s Epic Journey will be one interesting musical trek you will find challenging and a highly entertaining session of music."
- Edward Blanco, Aug 26, 2008
Label: Innova Recordings
Artist Web: www.niewood.com
"When a group has a name like Adam Niewood & His Rabble Rousers, one might assume that their focus is something along the lines of outlaw country, honky tonk, or Southern rock. But there are no covers of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," or Waylon Jennings' "Good Hearted Woman" on this two-CD set. Actually, Epic Journeys, Vol. 1 & 2 isn't country at all. Niewood's group is jazz all the way -- specifically, post-bop jazz with detours into the mildly avant-garde at times. Epic Journeys isn't radically avant-garde; the double-disc isn't an exercise in atonal chaos, and reedman Niewood (who wrote all of the material himself) puts a lot of thought into melody, harmony, and composition. But he also makes improvisation a high priority -- mostly inside improvisation, although there is a fair amount of outside improvisation as well. And when Niewood and the Rabble Rousers do venture outside, they aren't necessarily going to go about it a particular way. Sometimes, their outside playing has the reflective, contemplative, economical approach that Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians is known for. But other times, the outside playing is denser and more intense. Niewood plays several different instruments on Epic Journeys, including tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, C-melody sax, clarinet and bass clarinet -- and as a soloist, his obvious influences include, among others, John Coltrane, Joe Lovano, and Eric Dolphy. The material on this 2008 release isn't groundbreaking by late 2000s standards, but Niewood's playing, arranging, and composing are consistently solid. Epic Journeys is an enjoyable demonstration of the ways in which the inside and the outside can work together for the greater good in jazz; just don't expect to hear any Johnny Paycheck songs."
- Alex Henderson, All Music, September 2008
"Adam Niewood, the son of former Chuck Mangione saxophonist Gerry Niewood, proves to be an excellent soloist on his debut as a leader. He has attractive tones on tenor and soprano saxophones and contributes six melodic originals. Pianist Eric Lewis takes very exciting solos on many of the songs (his spot on "Nervous Brunch" is a high point); in addition, Adam's father has a couple guest appearances. The music ranges from the catchy "Shorty's Shuffle" and the Beatles' "And I Love Her" to Wayne Shorter's "Pinocchio" and a two-tenor jam by the Niewoods on "Heard That Before," which is based on the Miles Davis classic "Four," but alternates it's choruses between two different keys. Adam Niewood particularly excels on the more modern material such as Eric Lewis' "Hopscotch" and the raging "Blues for Ball." He shows plenty of potential throughout this enjoyable set, which is well worth picking up. 4 Stars."
- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
"Obviously it doesn't hurt to have great lineage as Adam does through his dad, but he stands on his own in this debut recording with a great assortment of styles and moods. As well there is some wonderful saxophone playing that is already quite mature, most especially on soprano."
- David Liebman, July 1, 2004
"Adam, I have to say honestly that I really enjoy your work. First and foremost, for the very fact that it's not strikingly obvious who your inspiration on the instrument is. Plainly put, I'm elated that you aren’t coming off as another Coltrane - Rollins - Shorter - Henderson - Brecker - Lovano etc. clone on yet another throwaway project. I am certain that you’ve done your homework and have given the great predecessors their necessary attention, but it is not overwhelmingly obvious just exactly which bag you favor most. This is quite admirable (especially these days) and is the very fact that compelled me to listen to your project throughout to the very end. Had I heard any references made to any of the aforementioned players, legendary or not, it would have initiated a run for the eject button. I am primarily concerned with definition of personality and concept in modern music art - not replication and total recall on the bandstand. You're obviously working on your own sound and direction and that's the whole point. Great Beatles cover by the way, that’s something I’d do. Again, very well done."
- Greg Osby, Tue October 12th 2004
"Yo Adam- You've got all the idioms going at once- then to now. Nice low register and super sound. Beautiful. PLUS your version of Wayne Shorter's Pinocchio!!!! Killing!!!@$!## I hear_YOU_in your playing and that is a big plus today. I enjoyed your honest ideas and how you maintained artistic validity as a player. Adam- keep on doing ALL of it."
With respect - Tim Price, January 2nd, 2005
"Though Adam Niewood's 2004 debut recording may have been late in coming, it showcases the immense voice of this little-known but rising musician. The New York saxophonist is the son of musical parents, jazz saxophonist Gerry Niewood and classical pianist Gurly Niewood. But he may be better known for his expertise as a woodwind mouthpiece refinisher, restoring the life of worn and battered mouthpieces to rejuvenated quality.
That craftsmanship and attention to detail is also evident in his music. Niewood has a distinctly powerful, supple and soulfully intelligent presence. One can draw comparisons with several jazz saxophonists, but Niewood never mimics or rehashes someone else's work. He clearly can hold his own with names like Tony Malaby, Chris Potter and other notable contemporaries.
Like many debuts, Introducing showcases Niewood’s exploits in both old and new territory, joined by a talented and bright band. Like sound in virtual motion, the music flows through various movements. “Shorty's Shuffle” features a rocking rhythmic swing and a layered reed section (with some help from Gerry Niewood on bass clarinet and alto flute), where Adam solos with calm perfection on soprano sax. The satin urban vibe of ”Philly Groove” glides in next with soulful overtones, elevated by Eric Lewis' dynamic and uplifting piano.
Niewood is also a man of many sounds. His tenor has a balmy luster on the cover of the Beatles' “And I Love Her” and an angular resonance on Wayne Shorter's Weather Report classic “Pinnochio,” propelled by the exacting cadence of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Ben Perowsky. Niewood’s playing on “Wayne’s World” is stunning as his solo builds in strength, stamina and passion. The band takes the listener to Sunday service on “Kay Marie,” with gospel piano and choir-like balladry, or down the hard bop memory lane of 52nd Street, on “Heard that Before.” But Niewood also has his pulse in the present on pieces like “Hopscotch” and “Nervous Brunch,” both of which begin with simple patterns but yield complex inner workings.
Introducing Adam Niewood is more than just a run-of-the-mill saxophone debut. The music speaks for itself, and it’ll be quite interesting to hear what Niewood delivers next."
- Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz, June 16, 2006
"Adam, thank you so much for your workshop with our jazz students last February. Please know that the presentation made by you and your group members was very effective and that our students really got a lot from the lively demonstrations and discussions.
Jazz studies programs benefit greatly by connecting with musicians like you who are immersed in the current scene and performing with the new generation of up-coming artists. Experiencing the legends of jazz is always enriching but it is possibly even more important that students interact with talent that is ten to fifteen years down the road from where they are. They certainly related to your comments and Advice.
You are obviously a musician of extraordinary skills and an enthusiastic teacher, and I wish you continued success in your career."
- Harold Danko, July 3, 2006
Chairman, Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media
Eastman School of Music - University of Rochester
"This weekend, the Artists' Quarter in downtown St. Paul will provide the setting for the recording of another "live" CD, this time by New York-based saxophonist Adam Niewood. Considered an up-and-coming talent on the tenor sax, Niewood has an impressive pedigree. The son of well-regarded jazzman Gerry Niewood and classical pianist/clarinetist Gurly Niewood, he was a finalist in the 2002 World Saxophone Competition. At the AQ, Niewood will be backed by Twin Cities-based players Bryan Nichols on piano, Adam Linz on bass, Greg Paulus on trumpet, and J.T. Bates on drums."
- Dan Emerson, St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 5th, 2006
"The son of multi-reedman and former Chuck Mangione cohort Gerry Niewood has superb taste in music, and is comfortable covering Henry Threadgill and "Conference of the Birds"-era Dave Holland. And he chooses the Beatles' "And I Love Her" for a moody, breathy treatment on tenor sax. As a composer, he likewise strives for a mixture of challenging, rhythms and lush melodies. But Niewood is also not above just blowing for the gusto of it, as a torrid duet with his dad on 2004's Introducing Adam Niewood indicates. (He does it over the changes to "Four," and gives the track the wiseacre title, "Heard That Before.") That disc also features national recording artist Eric Lewis on piano, and production work by Niewood's mentor, drummer Bill Goodwin. But the still-young, recent Manhattan School of Music grad and college teacher will be venturing to the AQ to play with locals this weekend—a hardy spirit at a reasonable price."
- Britt Robson, City Pages A List, July 5th, 2006
"Although still a relative youngster, multi-reedman Adam Niewood has already taught saxophone and jazz history, toured the world and recorded a splendid solo album. This week he'll be recording a live CD while in Minnesota with the support of young trumpet titan Greg Paulus, pianist Bryan Nichols, and the Fat Kid Wednesdays rhythm section of Adam Linz (bass) and J.T. Bates (drums)."
- Contributing Staff critics, The Star Tribune, July 6th, 2006
"Tenor saxophonist Adam Niewood says he is trying to keep his musical "palette wide open" by focusing his performance on original material. The New York City-based player will be showing off that approach Saturday when his band, the Rabble Rousers, appears at Gullifty's in Squirrel Hill.
"I like playing standards and all the jazz classics," he says, "but right now I really aspire to compose and perform my own music."
Niewood is the son of Gerry Niewood, the saxophonist known for his work with flugelhornist Chuck Mangione. Niewood's band will feature two members of the jazz-talented Peck family from Weirton, W.Va., bassist Nathan Peck and drummer Alex Peck. They will be joined by guitarist Jesse Lewis and Rohin Khemani. Khemani plays a variety of what Niewood calls "world percussion instruments," such as the tabla. While Niewood currently tends to stay away from traditional material in his repertoire, his style is both tonal and A-tonal, melodic but aggressive.
Niewood also has a musical sideline in adjusting saxophone mouthpieces. He doesn't make his own brand, but finds the work a good addition to his career.
"In music these days, you have to keep a lot of pots on the fire," he says."
- Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 10th, 2006
Not about me... Some of my favorite random quotes:
"My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life."
- Miles Davis
"The moment you blame, you renounce self-observation and lose all possibility of finding the true solution within yourself."
- Unknown ???
"Under no circumstances should you lose hope. Hopelessness is a real cause of failure. Remember you can overcome any problem. Be calm, even when the external environment is confused or complicated; it will have little effect if your mind is at peace. On the other hand, if your mind gives way to anger, then even when the world is peaceful and comfortable, peace of mind will elude you."
- the Dalai Lama
"Gossip carries the absolute truth about the poison of the persons who are compelled to spread its ill-intentions."
- Unknown ???
"Better to love from a distance than provoke hatred by the selfish demand to be close."
- Unknown ???
"Like all artists, I want to cheat death a little and contribute something to the next generation."
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion."
- Abraham Lincoln
"Sound is money and feel is everything..."
- Roy Haynes
''Everybody wants to go to heaven,but nobody wants to die.''
- Joe Lewis: ex heavyweight champion
"You have enemies? Good! That means you've stood up for something in your life."
- Winston Churchill
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race."
- H.G. Wells
"...because it compromised the integrity of the helmet... and the functionality of the breathing apparatus... when he picked him up with the force lightening."
- Sebastian Knox, July 24th, 2011 at approx. 10:40 PM
"Popsicle head, my name is Popsicle head... get off my train right now... give me a kick in the nose."
- Chris Higgins, Sept 11th 2008 approx. 10:45 PM