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Meet Sam Dillon

Purchase played a critical role in my life and deeply shaped the musician I am today.

Sam Dillon (’07 BM, ’09 MM)

Native New Yorker, saxophonist, composer and teacher, Sam Dillon has established himself as one of the most in demand musicians of his generation.  Sam’s prolific soloist and sideman work includes over 20 studio recordings, performances on a global level and international critical acclaim.  His debut album as a leader, “Out In The Open” on Cellar Live Records, was released in September 2018 gaining him recognition as one of the defining voices on the tenor saxophone today.

On the occasion of Purchase Jazz’s 25th Anniversary, Sam said, “The education, mentorship and guidance I received at Purchase provided an exceptional foundation for my professional and personal development. Purchase played a critical role in my life and deeply shaped the musician I am today.”

As both a bandleader and member of The Jimmy Heath Big Band, The Slide Hampton Octet, The Mingus Big Band, The Frank Basile Quintet, The 8-Bit Big Band, The Steven Feifke Big Band, and The New Alchemy Jazz Orchestra, Sam maintains a very active performance schedule based in New York.

Sam has also performed or recorded with Ron Carter, Roger Humphries, Joe Chambers, Randy Brecker, Vincent Herring, David Weiss, John Riley, Jimmy Greene, Dwayne Burno, Orrin Evans and many more.  Some of Sam’s noteworthy performances have included The Detroit Jazz Festival, The Blue Note Tokyo, Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Yoshi’s Jazz Club, The 55 Bar, The Zinc Bar, The Kitano Hotel, Smoke Jazz Club, Smalls Jazz Club, Birdland Jazz Club, Iridium, The Jazz Standard, Symphony Space, Carnegie Hall, and Blue Note NYC.  Additionally, Sam has made appearances on WBGO 88.3FM with The Purchase Jazz Collective, and on Royal Pains & Boardwalk Empire for HBO.

In 2013, Sam was selected as one of 13 semi-finalists for the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition where he performed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.  In 2016, Sam received an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School as the saxophonist in the Artist Diploma Jazz Program.  This ensemble performed and taught internationally at The Tokyo Jazz Festival, The Torino Jazz Festival, The Sao Paulo Jazz Festival, and Lincoln Center.

In addition to performing, Sam is The Jazz Director at USDAN Summer Camp For The Arts, Woodwind Teaching Artist for The New York Pops, saxophone instructor for The Juilliard MAP program, and improvisation teacher for The Big Apple Music Festival.

Sam is an endorsing artist for Yamaha Saxophones and D’Addario Reeds.