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Sam Barsh (born 1981 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American pianist, keyboardist, and record producer based in New York City. While he is known primarily for his work in jazz, he has worked in the genres of R&B, pop, funk, and electronic music.
Barsh was born Samuel Joseph Bar-sheshet in Chicago, IL. At the age 4 his family moved from Chicago to the nearby town of Wilmette, IL. At that time, Barsh began taking piano lessons, and at age 13 began studying jazz piano at Alan Swain studios in the neighboring town of Evanston. Barsh attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. He graduated New Trier in 1999, in the same class with media personality Julia Allison. Upon finishing high school, Barsh received a full-tuition scholarship to attend William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. He graduated from William Paterson in 2003, Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelors in Jazz Studies.
Since moving to New York City in 2001, Barsh has worked with a diverse group of musical artists, including Cassandra Wilson, The Brand New Heavies, Bobby McFerrin, Jeremy Sisto, Roy Hargrove, Jeff Parker (guitarist) (of Tortoise (band)), Robin Eubanks, and Debbie Friedman. He appears on over 20 recordings as a pianist, keyboardist, organist and producer.
Barsh's solo project, the Sam Barsh Band, is a mix of jazz, r&b, ambient and electronic music. The band has two albums, the independently released Live!, and I Forgot What You Taught Me on the Razdaz Label.
From 2003-2006 Barsh was a member of the band of bassist Avishai Cohen, with whom he toured the world extensively. Barsh appears on Cohen's albums At Home and Continuo, and the live album/DVD As Is...Live at the Blue Note. For his work with Cohen, Barsh was praised as being one of “the most freakishly talented, tasteful and fresh-sounding newcomers today.”
Barsh has produced recordings by a number of artists, including Vosotros Presents: The Years, which was rated the #6 best R&B album of 2009 by Amazon.com.
- "I Forgot What You Taught Me" (Razdaz/Sunnyside, 2008)
- "Live!" (2006)
Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego
- Limited Edition EP (2009)
- Over the Covers (2013)
- Id Ego. Palter Ego (2013)
- Vosotros Presents: The Years (Vosotros, 2009)
- Jennifer Lee Snowden In My Own Company (2009)
- Russ Nolan & Kenny Werner Trio With You In Mind (Rhinoceruss, 2008)
- Meilana Gillard Day One (Inner Circle Music, 2009)
- Gene Segal Hypnotic (Innova, 2009)
- Beyondo The Gambler EP (2008)
- Avishai Cohen As Is...Live At the Blue Note (Halfnote/RazDaz, 2007)
- Rick Parker Finding Space (WJF, 2006)
- Avishai Cohen Continuo (Razdaz, 2006)
- Jeff Parker The Relatives (Thrill Jockey, 2005)
- Zach Brock and the Coffee Achievers Chemistry (Secret Fort, 2005)
- Avishai Cohen At Home (Razdaz, 2005)
- Lonnie Plaxico So Alive (Sony/Village, 2004)
- Russ Nolan Two Colors (RN, 2004)
- Zach Brock and the Coffee Achievers (self-titled) (Secret Fort, 2003)
- Arik Ben Kalifa Mogador - Voices of Eli (Private release, 2007)
- Wilmette Newspaper Index
- Sam Barsh bio on allmusic.com
- Mark Saleski review of "I Forgot What You Taught Me"
- Review of Sam Barsh "I Forgot What You Taught Me" from blogcritics.com
- Jazz Times review of Avishai Cohen's "At Home"
- BBC review of Avishai Cohen's "Continuo"
- Jazz Times review of "As Is...Live At The Blue Note"
- Jazz Journalists Association top of 2005
- Jim Derogatis review of Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego for Chicago Sun-Times
- Amazon.com top MP3 albums of 2009