Sam Gendel


Sam Gendell is an advanced composer based in LA. As a multi-instrumental player, mainly guitar and saxophone, he has continued to present works at a high pace in recent years, and his activities span multiple genres such as jazz, avant-garde, ambient, and experimental pop.

Starting with music on a saxophone purchased for 50 dollars when he was 11 years old, early performances that featured the 1st album in 2015 and “Volunteered Volunteers” by Roland Kirk as the leader of the advanced jazz trio “INGA” are examples of early performances.

From 2017, an album with a completely different flavor was announced from the first album “4444,” which mainly interweaves vocals and rap with guitar under an individual name, “Double Expression,” which contains improvised performances performed on the street, and “Pass If Music,” a fantastic abstract work constructed with the sound of a 2018 rhythm loop and saxophone. The ambitious duo “Theem and Concerns” with Sam Wilkes, who was the same student at LA's jazz collective Knower, also became a hot topic, and they performed at “FESTIVAL DE FRUE 2018” this year.

The reason why his activities have been brought up a lot in the spotlight in recent years is probably greatly influenced by the announcement of “SATIN DOLL,” which was released by the prestigious American label Nonsuch. The unique performance, which reconstructed traditional jazz standards by oneself, became a problem work that evoked various interpretations such as “the future form of jazz standards” and “the current progression system of Americana sounds.”

In addition to his own works, Sam is also known as a musician who continues to release collaborations at a very high pace. In recent years alone, the range is too wide, including individual names, differences in taste between labels, and collaboration projects, so I would like to introduce only a few of them from recent years.

In 2022, 34 major works “Superstore” and “Blueblue,” which further pursues a penchant for jazz and ambient music, were released in quick succession. They collaborated with 12-year-old singer Antonia Cytrinovic on “Live a Little,” fusing jazz with fairytale pop songwriting.

On the 2023 album “Cookup,” along with Gabe Noel and Philip Melanson, they reinterpret hit R&B/soul songs from the 90s to the 2000s, and collaborated on “Audiobook” with an art book by Marcela Citrinowitz, who goes back and forth between sound and visual online and real worlds, and even works by the up-and-coming post-classical unit Balmoray. Looking within Japan, impromptu collaborations with guitarist Shin Sasakubo, and features in “Fire” by Yuta Orisaka and works by Takuro Okada and Gen Hoshino, and guest performances continue to increase.

In 2024, starting with the track “Landscape 1,” which was already quietly announced in one corner of the website, “The Room,” a collaboration with Fabiano do Nascimento in the past, was re-released, and an album will continue to be released in March under the name “Earth Flower,” a mysterious nutrio like between jazz and indie rock by Ruth Galvus, Sam & Melanson.

The unending pace of output knows no bounds, but recently the 3rd album “The Doober” by a duo with their ally Sam Wilkes, with whom they regularly collaborate, has just been released. Most of the tracks recorded on this album were recorded on a tour that went around Japan starting with the performance at “FESTIVAL FRUEZINHO 2022.”

Sam Gendell already has the impression that FRUE/FRUEZINHO is a resident artist, but all of the performances he performed repeatedly were his first appearances, which can be called the “Japan Premiere,” including combinations and unit formats. The world's first collaboration with Furna Molina this time is definitely going to be exciting.

Text By Hideki Hayasaka