Sam is a passionate and experienced educator who teaches with the same principles of integrity, creativity and discovery that he brings to his music. Sam has been a bandleader for Jazz at Lincoln Center's highly acclaimed Jazz For Young People program since 2013, and has led hundreds of concert workshops in public schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Washington D.C., Memphis, Nashville, Chicago, Lafayette, Atlanta and New Orleans. Through his work with the U.S. Department of State, Sam has led concerts and workshops about American folk music in China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Sam is a regular faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop where he teaches his Future Folk Musik course each summer to hundreds of students. 

Interested in bringing a workshop or performance to a school or community organization near you?


Jazz for Young People, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Through jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz for Young People program, Sam and his band have reached thousands of public school students around the country. Each fall, winter, and spring, Sam gives concerts organized around social studies curricula: Jazz and Democracy, The Great Migration, and the Harlem Renaissance. These concerts are highly interactive and prioritize direct exposure to performance. They are also a lot of fun. 

For more information about Jazz For Young People, visit

Selected concert outlines are available here in PDF form:



Future Folk Musik

As a long time student and member of the Stanford Jazz community, Sam has been happy to be on faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop since 2014. He has led a variety of workshops and masterclasses ranging from Singing for Instrumentalists, to Jazz and Protest, to the Global Roots of Jazz.

Future Folk Musik puts jazz in conversation with the various styles of American folk music that have surrounded it since its inception. From the roots of blues and gospel, to bluegrass and country music, from Latin American and Caribbean folk music to rock and roll, Future Folk Musik explores what it means to be an American musician. Drawing on my his experiences working with bluegrass and Americana musicians, Sam encourages students to open their ears to new sounds, songs, and strategies for group improvisation and practice. Students will listen to archival recordings of early roots music, compare the works of Louis Armstrong, Bill Monroe, Ornette Coleman, Nina Simone, Ray Charles and Charlie Haden, and learn to sing and play an old-time fiddle tune. 

Sam also maintains a Future Folk Musik playlist for students: