Sam Barsh

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Sam Barsh (born 1981 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American songwriter, keyboardist and record producer. He has worked in the genres of Jazz, R&B, Hip hop and pop.


Barsh was born in Chicago, IL, and began playing piano at the age of 4.[1] He attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL[2] and William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.[3] Barsh moved to New York City in 2001 and currently resides in Los Angeles.[4]


From 2003-2006 Barsh was a member of the band of bassist Avishai Cohen, with whom he toured the world extensively.[5] Barsh appears on Cohen's albums At Home[6] and Continuo,[7] and the live album/DVD As Is...Live at the Blue Note.[8]

Between 2008 and 2011, Barsh released three albums as a leader: the independently released Live! and Live Vol. II, and I Forgot What You Taught Me on Razdaz Recordz.[9]

Along with vocalist Jesse Palter, Barsh founded the electronic pop group Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego, (later renamed Palter Ego), in 2009.[10] The group has released 2 EPs and two albums.[11]

In 2013, Barsh co-wrote "The Man" for Aloe Blacc's album Lift Your Spirit. The song reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart, and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified platinum by the RIAA,[12] selling over 2.5 million copies in the US.[13]

Barsh played keyboards on the 2014 Kendrick Lamar song "i", which received the award for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards.[14] He composed and played keyboards on the song Institutionalized on Lamar's Grammy-winning 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly.

In 2016, Barsh co-wrote and played on the songs "Heart Don't Stand a Chance" and "Your Prime" for Anderson .Paak's Grammy-nominated breakthrough album Malibu, and co-wrote "Man Down" for BJ the Chicago Kid's Grammy-nominated album In My Mind.[15]

Barsh has performed with Babyface, Bobby McFerrin, Boyz II Men, Branford Marsalis, Bruno Mars, Cassandra Wilson, Common, David Foster, Debbie Friedman, Emily King, Estelle, Fred Wesley, Gene Simmons, Gregory Porter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kiran Ahluwalia, Large Professor, Lonnie Plaxico, Mark Ballas, Mino Cinelu, Natasha Bedingfield, Quadron, Ravi Coltrane, Rez Abbasi, Robin Eubanks, Roy Hargrove, Stevie Wonder, The Brand New Heavies, and Tom Jones.[16][17]



  • Song For Tomorrow - Sam Barsh (As Sam Bar-sheshet) (composer, piano, keyboard)


  • At Home - Avishai Cohen Trio and Ensemble (composer, fender rhodes, melodica, organ, piano, vocals)
  • So Alive - Lonnie Plaxico (piano, keyboards, organ)
  • Two Colors - Russ Nolan (piano)
  • Zach Brock and the Coffee Achievers - Zach Brock (composer, piano, organ)


  • Chemistry - Zach Brock (composer, producer, piano, keyboards)
  • Finding Space - Rick Parker Collective (piano, synthesizer)
  • The Relatives - Jeff Parker (electric piano)


  • Continuo - Avishai Cohen (keyboards, piano, handclapping)
  • Live at the Jazz Factory - Zach Brock (piano, composer)


  • As Is…Live at the Blue Note - Avishai Cohen (piano, keyboards, melodica)
  • As Is…Live at the Blue Note (DVD) - Avishai Cohen (piano, keyboards, melodica)
  • With You in Mind - Russ Nolan featuring the Kenny Werner Trio (producer)


  • The Gambler EP - Beyondo (keyboards)
  • I Forgot What You Taught Me - Sam Barsh (composer, producer, keyboards, melodica, piano)
  • Live! - Sam Barsh (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • Vosotros Presents: The Years - The Years (composer, producer, keyboards, melodica)


  • Day One - Meilana Gillard (electric piano)
  • Evil Genius - Michael Feinberg (piano, keyboards)
  • Hypnotic - Gene Segal (composer, organ, synthesizer)
  • In My Own Company - Jennifer Lee Snowden (producer, piano, organ, melodica)
  • Inner Dance - Fabrizio Sotti (organ)
  • Limited Edition EP - Palter Ego (as Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego) (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • Vosotros Presents: The Years Mixtape - The Years (composer, producer, keyboards, melodica)


  • By the Numbers - Dustin Edge (keyboard, organ)
  • PVD and 8th W1 are: Luz Deville - Lux Deville (keyboards)
  • Yvette Rovira - Yvette Rovira (composer)
    • 01. "Everybody Stand Up"
    • 09. "Psychedelia"
    • 12. "Smile"


  • Live Vol. II - Sam Barsh (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • Sounds Like This! - PVD (keyboards)
    • 01. "One Two (feat. Sam Barsh)"
  • We Write Songs - Palter Ego (as Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego) (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • We Are - Elan (keyboards)


  • Agápē - Jojo (keyboards)
    • 01. "Back2thebeginningagain"
  • Above the Covers - Palter Ego (producer, keyboards, mixing)
  • Dealbreaker - White on Rice featuring Norah Jones (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • Emuna - Daniel Ori (piano)
  • Eviction Notice - Wax (composer, producer, keyboards)
    • 09. "Killing Me Inside"
  • MoodSwings - Lalana (composer, producer, keyboards)
    • 01. "Waitin' (6 O'clock)"
    • 02. "Best of 3"
    • 04. "Operating At the Cost of Love"
    • 06. "Gold"
    • 07. "You Pester Me"
    • 08. "Somethin Bout Nothin"
    • 09. "Lady Freak"
    • 12. "I'm Sold/Apology"
  • Soulflower - Robin McKelle (composer)
    • 01. "So It Goes"
    • 02. "Tell You One Thing"
    • 03. "Nothing's Really Changed"
    • 04. "Fairytale Ending"
    • 05. "Miss You Madly"
  • Violet - Nick Rosen (composer, producer, keyboards, mixer)
    • 04. "Blues for Albert"
    • 05. "Eastside/Westside"


  • Between Two Evils - Aubrey O'Day (composer, keyboards, vocal producer)
    • 08. "Devil & Me"
  • Fairytale Ending - Robin Mckelle (composer)
  • I Lost My Coachella Ticket - Kosha Dillz (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • Id, Ego, Palter Ego - Palter Ego (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • The Man - Aloe Blacc (composer, keyboards)
  • Maurice vs. Mobetta - Maurice Brown (composer, producer, vocals, keyboards)
    • 02. "The Connection (feat. Sam Barsh)


  • Control Yourself - Opolopo Remix - Robin Mckelle (composer)
  • Enter the Dynasty - Dontae Winslow and Winslow Dynasty (piano, keyboards)
    • 06. "Blaxploitation and Revolutions (feat. the West Coast Get Down)" (piano, nord lead)
    • 09. "2304 West North Avenue"
  • Heart of Memphis - Robin Mckelle and the Flytones (composer)
    • 01. "About to Be Your Baby"
    • 04. "Control Yourself"
    • 08. "Easier That Way"
  • i - Kendrick Lamar (keyboards)
  • Lift Your Spirit - Aloe Blacc (composer, keyboards)
    • 02. "The Man"
    • 08. "Red Velvet Seat"
  • Modern Vintage - John Robinson and PVD (composer, keyboards)
    • 06. "What's the Point"
  • The Way - Macy Gray (composer, keyboards)
    • 10. "Life"
  • The Worst - Van Ike (composer, producer, keyboards, vocals)




  • 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time - Big K.R.I.T. (composer, keyboards)
    • 10. (Disc one: Big K.R.I.T.) "Aux Cord"
    • 11. (Disc two: Justin Scott) "Bury Me in Gold"
  • All-Amerikkkan Badass - Joey Bada$$ (composer, keyboards)
    • 01. "Good Morning Amerikkka"
    • 02. "For My People"
    • 12. "Amerikkkan Idol"
  • Everybody - Logic (composer, keyboards)
  • East Coast - ASAP Ferg (composer, keyboards)
  • Half Hearted - Finn Matthews (composer, producer, keyboards)
  • The Mugician - Keyon Harrold (keyboards)
    • 5. "Wayfaring Traveler"
    • 6. "Stay This Way"
  • Rather You Than Me - Rick Ross (composer, keyboards)
    • 10. "Scientology"
  • Rebirth of the Cool - Nick Grant (composer, keyboards)
    • 01. "Sometimes"
    • 07. "PPIPP"
  • The Transition of Mali - Mali Music (composer, keyboards)
    • 01. "Worth It"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Barsh was the recipient of two 2015 BMI Awards, the US R&B Hip-Hop award[18] and the London Pop Award.[19]

He was a nominee for the Ashford and Simpson Songwriter Award at the 2014 Soul Train Awards.[20]

Though never an official Grammy Award nominee, Barsh’s work as a composer and keyboardist has received 3 Grammy Awards out of 8 nominations.

He was awarded a 2000 Downbeat Magazine Student Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Soloist.[21]


  1. ^ "Sam Barsh Biography". 
  2. ^ Wilmette Newspaper Index
  3. ^ "Jazz Studies & Performance : Alumni". 
  4. ^ "Sam Barsh: - As a lead artist I would have to commit to a lifetime of touring - Musicians on Music". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  5. ^ Pico. "Music Review: Sam Barsh – I Forgot What You Taught Me". Blogcritics. 
  6. ^ "Jazz Reviews: At HomeAvishai Cohen - By Nate Chinen — Jazz Articles". 
  7. ^ "BBC - Music - Review of Avishai Cohen - Continuo". 
  8. ^ "Jazz Reviews: As Is … Live at the Blue Note Avishai Cohen - By Steve Greenlee — Jazz Articles". 
  9. ^ Mark Saleski. "Music Review: Sam Barsh – I Forgot What You Taught Me". Blogcritics. 
  10. ^ Jim Derogatis review of Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego for Chicago Sun-Times
  11. ^ "Evolution Records - Palter Ego". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  12. ^ "American single certifications – Aloe Blacc – The Man". 
  13. ^ "The Big 9 in 2014: Interscope". 
  14. ^ "57th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". Grammy Awards. 
  15. ^ "Going for the Grammy: UCLA jazz director works on Anderson .Paak's nominated album 'Malibu'". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Jazz Studies Alumni". 
  17. ^ "Sam Barsh: As a lead artist I would have to commit to a lifetime of touring". 
  18. ^ "Nile Rodgers Honored as BMI Icon at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards". Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Graham Gouldman and Top Songwriters Honored at 2015 BMI London Awards". Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  20. ^ "Ashford And Simpson Songwriter's Award". Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  21. ^ "DOWNBEAT AWARDS". Retrieved 4 January 2016. 

External links[edit]