Adam Niewood (Saxophones and various woodwinds; EWI / electronic sound instrument, Drums) is an American jazz composer who lives in Manhattan, New York.
Adam was raised in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His father Gerry was an improvising jazz musician as well as a freelancing woodwind doubler. His mother Gurly is a pianist and classical clarinetist, along with a large number of piano students.
Adam started his musical journey with the clarinet as a fourth-grade instrument. He was playing instrumental music in NJ public school’s instrumental music program. However, he soon gravitated to the Alto saxophone. Adam switched from Alto to Tenor when he was in high school.
“The Tenor’s sound got me. That’s when I began to listen to my father’s recordings. I had the opportunity to play second tenor in a big band that included Joe Romano and Larry Covelli, Lew Soloff, Don Menza, my father Gerry and Steve Gadd. This was my junior year of high school. For a brief tour… This was all that was needed to convince me that music school was what I wanted and to play professionally in music.
Education: Adam was awarded a scholarship to cover his tuition at Berklee College in September 1995. Adam transferred to William Paterson University after two years to get closer to New York. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance. Demsey recommended Adam to be a professor at a nearby university after two years of saxophone studies with Dr. David Demsey. Adam was the Montclair State University professor of Saxophone, Jazz History and small Ensembles from 2000 to 2003. Adam, who had spent one year as a teacher and was eager to continue learning and developing, was selected to be one of 18 students to The Juilliard School of Music’s Jazz program. This led to his move from NJ to Manhattan NY in 2001. After being awarded a scholarship to cover 100% of his tuition at Manhattan School of Music, Adam quit Montclair University in September 2003 in order to focus fully on his studies. He graduated in May 2005 with a Masters in Jazz Performance. Adam received his Artist Diploma May 2009 from the Juilliard School, wrapping up his Jazz-education.
Life Experience: Bill Goodwin, a drummer, met Adam at the IAJE conference in New York. Bill, who had worked with Gerry many times, fell in love with Adam immediately and began calling him for gigs. “For the longest period, all my playing was done in a practice area, at school, or in an informal jam session. Bill helped me shape my sound and approach to music through many performances and recordings. It was a great blessing to have a professional who took me under his wing. We’ve played many gigs together in various band configurations, including Bill Charlap and Jim McNeely, Rufus Reid. Vic Juris, Steve Gilmore, Gene Bertoncini, and Warren Vache. All situations that I would not have found myself in if it wasn’t for Bill. He is an amazing musician, and I have learned so much from him about playing music. He’s also an amazing producer of Jazz recordings.
Adam’s first recording was released on Native Language with the collective group SBW, March 18, 2003. Adam produced later in 2004 with Bill Goodwin “Facets”, a CD that Gerry recorded. Bill also produced “Introducing Adam Niewood,” his first album as a leader, with Eric Lewis on piano, Matt Brewer, on bass, and Ben Perowsky, on drums. It was released in June 2004.
Innova Recordings found a new home to his music: August 12, 2008 was the official street date for Adam Niewood & his Racers Volumes I and II. This double-CD features Niewood’s most recent original compositions for a larger shapeshifting ensemble that includes Jesse Lewis, Kristjan Randalu (Kristjan Randalu), Chris Higgins Chris Higgins Rohin Khemani, Greg Ritchie, and Chris Higgins.
Innova Recordings is the label that represents the American Composers Forum. It is a non-profit organization and does not own any intellectual property. Adam is excited to be a part of a list that includes artists such as Steve Reich, Anthony Braxton and Rudresh Mahantappa. “I am extremely grateful to have found such an open-minded, supportive label. Innova didn’t try to steer my career in any way. They gave me complete control over how I present myself as an artist.
Adam enjoys the “rollercoaster”, which is a lifestyle that involves original experimental music. He finds a balance between playing in clubs and playing with different bands. In addition, he presents clinics at schools all over the country. You can also find Adam sidemaning with many bands, as well as writing music at home.
Adam was most recently excited about his next recording project. It was produced by Bill Goodwin and recorded on August 15th-16th 2010. Volume I of the multi-CD project “Niewood plays Niewood” will include John Scofield, John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette. This project will concentrate on unrecorded music that Adam’s father Gerry Niewood composed over the past 10 years. Gerry Niewood left nearly 80 unrecorded compositions. “I feel driven to do it for him.” says Niewood.