Barsh was born in Chicago, IL, and began playing piano at the age of 4. He attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL and William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey Barsh moved to New York City in 2001 and currently resides in Los Angeles.
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, selling over 2.5 million copies in the US.
Barsh played keyboards on the Kendrick Lamar song i, which received the award for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards. He also wrote and played keyboards on the song Institutionalized on Lamar's 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly.
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.
In addition to Cohen, 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.
Barsh has released two albums as a leader: the independently released Live!, and I Forgot What You Taught Me on Razdaz Recordz.
As A Lead Artist
- "Live!" (2006)
- "I Forgot What You Taught Me" (Razdaz/Sunnyside, 2008)
With Palter Ego
- Limited Edition EP (2009)
- We Write Songs (2011)
- Above the Covers (2013)
- Id Ego. Palter Ego (2013)
- Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp a Butterfly" (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope, 2015) - composer, keyboards
- Macy Gray "The Way (Macy Gray album)" (Kobalt, 2014) - composer, keyboards
- Aloe Blacc "Lift Your Spirit" (Interscope Records, 2014) - composer, keyboards
- Robin McKelle "Heart Of Memphis" (Sony France, 2014) - composer
- Norah Jones and White On Rice "Dealbreaker" (2012) - composer, producer
- Nick Rosen "Violet" (Porter Records, 2012) - composer, keyboards, producer, engineer
- Fabrizio Sotti "Inner Dance" (E1 Music, 2010) - organ
- Vosotros Presents: The Years (Vosotros, 2009) - composer, keyboards, producer
- Russ Nolan & Kenny Werner Trio With You In Mind (Rhinoceruss, 2008) - producer
- Avishai Cohen As Is...Live At the Blue Note (RazDaz, 2007) - piano, keyboards
- Avishai Cohen As Is...Live At the Blue Note (DVD) (Half Note Records, 2007) - piano, keyboards
- Rick Parker Finding Space (WJF, 2006) - piano, synthesizer
- Avishai Cohen "Continuo" (Razdaz, 2005) - piano, keyboards
- Jeff Parker (musician) The Relatives (Thrill Jockey, 2005) - keyboards
- Zach Brock and the Coffee Achievers Chemistry (Secret Fort, 2005) - piano, keyboards, composer
- Avishai Cohen At Home (Razdaz, 2005) - piano, keyboards, composer
- Russ Nolan Two Colors (RN, 2004) - piano
- "Sam Barsh Biography". www.allmusic.com.
- Wilmette Newspaper Index
- "Jazz Studies & Performance : Alumni". wpunj.edu.
- "American single certifications – Aloe Blacc – The Man". riaa.com.
- "The Big 9 in 2014: Interscope". hitsdailydouble.com.
- "57th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". Grammy Awards.
- Pico. "Music Review: Sam Barsh – I Forgot What You Taught Me". Blogcritics.
- "Jazz Reviews: At HomeAvishai Cohen - By Nate Chinen — Jazz Articles". jazztimes.com.
- "BBC - Music - Review of Avishai Cohen - Continuo". bbc.co.uk.
- "Jazz Reviews: As Is … Live at the Blue Note Avishai Cohen - By Steve Greenlee — Jazz Articles". jazztimes.com.
- "Jazz Studies Alumni". wpunj.edu.
- "Sam Barsh: As a lead artist I would have to commit to a lifetime of touring". http://www.musicians-corner.net.
- Mark Saleski. "Music Review: Sam Barsh – I Forgot What You Taught Me". Blogcritics.
- Jim Derogatis review of Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego for Chicago Sun-Times
- "Sam Barsh Credits". allmusic.com.
- "Norah Jones Gets White On Rice". perezhilton.com.
- "Dealbreaker - White on Rice". youtube.com.