Sam Reider is a composer, accordionist, pianist, and singer from Brooklyn, NYC.
Jazz pianist turned roots musician, Sam Reider is redefining American music on the accordion. He’s been featured at Lincoln Center and on NPR, and performed alongside pop stars, jazz and folk musicians around the world ranging from Jon Batiste and Stay Human, to viral YouTube sensation CDZA and T-Pain, Bluegrass mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull to Venezuelan cuatro virtuoso Jorge Glem.
Reider’s debut record Too Hot To Sleep presents his unique compositional voice alongside an ensemble of top-drawer musical collaborators and compadres called The Human Hands.
Reider grew up in San Francisco, the son of a musical theatre composer and klezmer musician. He began performing at a young age, and was interviewed on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on NPR when he graduated high school. At Columbia University, he fell in love with American folk music. While writing his senior thesis comparing the songwriting of Woody Guthrie and Ira Gershwin, Sam began studying bluegrass and old-time music, transcribing the fiddle melodies for the accordion and learning to sing the songs.
This set him off on a journey that has taken him from back porches and dive bars to concert halls and major festivals in practically every state in the country. Representing the U.S. Department of State as a musical ambassador, Sam has travelled to China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Turkey and Azerbaijan, carrying his accordion on his back everywhere he goes and collaborating at every opportunity with international artists.
Now he’s surrounded himself with a crew of some of the most in-demand young acoustic musicians on the scene in Brooklyn. The Human Hands have developed a cultish following and a reputation for mind-bending sets of high-energy, improvised music.
"An exceptionally gifted bandleader and composer." - Songlines, Top of the World
"He's got rhythm. And for someone his age, plenty of soul, too.” - San Francisco Chronicle
"Dashes of folk influences from around the world are sprinkled into its string band aesthetic.. Reider’s accordion is the unyielding anchor, giving a dose of soulful, raw timelessness, but with a modern crispness and confidence.” - The Bluegrass Situation
“It is always moving to see fellow musicians playing with such passion, thank you Sam Reider!” - Taraf de Haidouks
TOO HOT TO SLEEP
Too Hot To Sleep, the debut record from accordionist and pianist Sam Reider is the music that gets stuck in your head and keeps you up all night.
Reider, who has built a cult following leading regular midnight sets at one of the oldest dive bars in Brooklyn, conjured the music out of his insomnia. “I’ll come home at 2 am after improvising wild music all night and then lie awake while fragments of melodies run through my mind. Sometimes all I can do is get up and go to the piano.”
What emerged is a record and an ensemble that breaks down any remaining boundaries between jazz, folk, and chamber music. The closest points of reference may be the Punch Brothers or the Goat Rodeo Sessions, but Reider reaches far beyond his roots in American music to draw on melodies and rhythms from around the world.
Beginning with an almost Morricone-inspired western piece, “The Murder,” the album follows a narrative of a journey through the underworld. From the blazing-fast “Swamp Dog Hobble” to the Klezmer/Balkan-tinged “Skeleton Rag,” the band’s virtuosity is totally captivating. Reider returns to his jazz roots in the title-track, “Too Hot To Sleep,” an otherworldly, Strayhorn-esque duet with crack alto saxophonist Eddie Barbash.
Reider, 29, is joined on the record by a group of young acoustic musicians in Brooklyn called The Human Hands, some of the best and brightest from the worlds of jazz and roots music: Violinist Alex Hargreaves (Turtle Island Quartet, Sarah Jarosz, Béla Fleck), saxophonist Eddie Barbash (Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste and Stay Human), guitarist Grant Gordy (David Grisman, Darol Anger, Aoife O'Donovan), mandolinist Dominick Leslie (Michael Daves, Tony Trischka, The Deadly Gentlemen), guitarist Roy Williams (Stephane Wrembel), and bassist Dave Speranza (Jim Campilongo).