Winter Update

GRAMMY Nomination!!

I’m elated to share the news I’ve been nominated for a 2018 GRAMMY for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for my performance on the track “Can’t Remember Why” from the album “Whispers on the Wind” by Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge. It is truly humbling not only to be recognized, but to be in the company of the other nominees in this category (Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, Chris Potter, and John McLaughlin). As I expressed to Rita Kohn in a recent interview for NUVO Magazine, “Finding success in one’s career is not a solitary venture. In fact, it’s impossible to do it alone. In looking back at the path that has led to this GRAMMY nomination, each step was made within a community – those who love, support, guide, and encourage. It’s that communal network & those experiences that define me, constitute my decisions, & inspire my music. I would not be the daughter, sister, teacher, partner, bandmate, or violinist I am now without the people I’ve been so fortunate to know & life I’ve been so blessed to live.”

“Whispers on the Wind” has received 3 additional GRAMMY nominations: Best Large Jazz Ensemble album, Best Instrumental Composition, and Best Arrangement. The winners will be announced January 28th during the Premiere Ceremony of the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards held in New York City.

DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Winner…

In May of 2017, I was thrilled to learn I’d been named Winner of the “Rising Star-Violin” category in DownBeat Magazine’s 65th Annual Critics Poll. Thanks so much to DownBeat Magazine and the critics for their support!

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Summer Update

NBC’s Maya & Marty…

MayaMarty-AltAboutImage-1920x1080-KO_1On April 9th, I received that stop-everything email inviting me to be part of a 10-piece house band for the new NBC weekly variety show “Maya & Marty” starring Maya Rudolph & Martin Short. One month later, 30 Rock had become my home for six weeks of recording our pilot season. Under the musical direction of bassist/composer/arranger Charlie Rosen & SNL musical director Eli Brueggemann, we taped six episodes featuring such guests as Kenan Thompson, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, & Amy Poehler. In addition to witnessing first-hand the artistry of some of today’s most brilliant comedians, I had the privilege of working with an incredible band that swung, rocked, & grooved at the highest level. Thanks to Charlie, Eli, Grace, Benny, Ray Jay, Ellie, Laura, Natalie, Jared, Bryan, & everyone in the M&M family for an unforgettable experience!

Berklee College of Music…

berkleeThis September, I’ll begin my 2nd year teaching on Mondays at the Berklee College of Music as an Associate Professor in the Strings Department. If it’s anything like the last academic year, 2016-17 will be filled with unmatched exploration, learning, jamming, & joy. Berklee is the world’s only collegiate program where a string player can take private lessons in classical, jazz, rock, old-time, Irish, Scottish, gypsy jazz, arabic, & bluegrass musics ~ a truly unique & inspiring creative hotbed. Drawing on my foundation in the classical & jazz traditions & my experiences as a band leader, sideman, recording artist, & touring musician, I look forward to another year advising my students through their musical adventures as well as learning from them.

9 Horses activities…

Since the release of our debut album “Perfectest Herald” (Sunnyside Records) last October, Joe, Shawn, & I (aka 9 Horses) have enjoyed a busy year touring & performing the repertoire from our CD which, according to All About Jazz, “communicates the essence of what it means to be an alive, feeling human being.” We’ve also been composing new material, collaborating with friends, applying for grants, & booking concerts for a November east coast tour ~ stay tuned for a complete listing of these concerts within the next few weeks. In the meantime, here is a video Strings Magazine invited us to record for their String Session Series this past March during our Northwest tour (CLICK HERE).

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September Update

Debut CD from 9 Horses…

Mandolinist Joe Brent, bassist Shawn Conley, & I (aka 9 Horses) are thrilled to announce that our debut album “Perfectest Herald” will be released on October 16th by Sunnyside Records. In celebration, we’ll be giving concerts throughout the 2015-16 season beginning with a batch in New England this September:

– 9/3: Hunt Hill Farm, New Milford (CT)
– 9/4: Schroon Lake Boathouse, Schroon Lake (NY)
– 9/5: Bicentennial Park, Ticonderoga (NY)
– 9/8: Carriage House Cafe, Ithaca (NY)
– 9/11: Jenkins House Concert, New York (NY)
– 9/12: Brandon Music Cafe, Brandon (VT)
– 9/13: The Lily Pad, Cambridge (MA)
– 9/15: Acoustic Artisans, Portland (ME)

For more information about these shows, please visit my Gigs page. Thanks to all of you for the love, support, & enthusiasm that made this album possible!!

In concert with Laila Biali & Peter Eldridge…

When friend and vocal goddess Laila Biali called me a few months ago asking about my interest & availability to be the special guest on a series of concerts she & singer extraordinaire Peter Eldridge were planning, I immediately told her “I’ll make myself available.” I’m thrilled to not only perform with these incredible musicians, but to do so at these historic venues: New York City’s Birdland on October 8th & Boston’s Sculler’s Jazz Club on October 21st. Hope to see you there!

Other autumn activities…

In addition to my collaborations with these folks, I’m looking forward to an autumn of reunions & debuts. Highlights include the release of composer/arranger Miho Hazama’s 2nd CD “Time River,” the premiere of bassist Mary Ann McSweeney’s jazz fado project, the recording of vocalist Luba Mason’s next album, & a month-long European tour with clarinetist David Krakauer in support of his album “The Big Picture”. Let the adventures begin!

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August Update

Strings Magazine cover

On the cover of Strings Magazine!…

During a rehearsal break last week, I was checking my Facebook page and noticed a friend had tagged me in a post saying “Congrats, Sara!”. Curious what he was referring to, I followed his lead and was taken to the Strings Magazine page where this image met my eyes & nearly caused me to drop my phone; I knew an article was in the works but had no idea it’d be featured on the magazine’s cover for their September issue.  Such an honor to be recognized in this publication of which I’ve long been a fan! Here is a link to the article by David Templeton – A Song in Her Heart.

9 horses plays the Soundwaves Concert Series…

Joe Brent, Shawn Conley & I (aka 9 horses) are looking forward to our August 7th concert on Soundwaves, an outdoor concert series in Westport (NY) I was introduced to last year via a performance with Rose & the Nightingale. Between the incredible hospitality, enthusiastic audience, Lake Champlain as our backdrop, and making music with Joe and Shawn, this concert will be a summer highlight.

Fireworks Ensemble heads into the studio…

I’m excited to be part of the Fireworks Ensemble’s newest project  American Tapestry, a diverse selection of repertoire arranged by bassist Brian Coughlin that celebrates the “richly diverse threads of America’s musical heritage.“ Following our August 9th performance at the Skaneateles Music Festival, we head into the studio for two days of recording. Stay tuned!

The Village Vanguard with Fabian Almazan…

Pianist Fabian Almazan’s newest CD Rhizome (Blue Note/Artist Share) is a beautiful collection of his compositions/arrangements written for rhythm section and string quartet. Our two days in the studio last year recording these pieces were a thrill, as will be our three days performing them at the historic Village Vanguard August 14-17 ~ can’t wait!

That’s it for now…be sure to check back in the coming weeks for news about some exciting concerts this fall, tours and project in the works, and new CD releases.

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New Website

Welcome to my brand new website designed by creative genius Janelle Reichman of Continuum Web Design. I’m thrilled with the site and invite you to have a look around as there are many new features as compared to my old. My hope is that this site will keep you better informed about my musical activities, interests, and endeavors and allow for better communication and dissemination of exciting news.

In the meantime, there’s much news to share within the world of CD projects!

My sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell, & I are thrilled to announce that our 1st Caswell Sisters CD “Alive in the Singing Air” featuring the incomparable pianist Fred Hersch has just been released! As most of you know, this project has been in the works for a while, so we’re excited to finally share it with all of you! In celebration of its release, Rachel and I are giving several US concerts during the coming months ~ be sure to check either my itinerary, or that on our joint website for more details.

Equally talented as a composer and trumpeter, Nadje Noordhuis has just released a beautiful collection of her compositions performed by her, yours truly, pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Obed Calvaire, as well as percussionist James Shipp and guitarist Rupert Boyd. The album is receiving rave reviews, and you’ll understand why within one minute of hearing the opening track.

Last spring, Rose & the Nightingale, a unique and genre-bending quartet featuring me (violin/mandolin), Jody Redhage (cello/voice/compositions), Laila Biali (voice/piano), and Leala Cyr (voice/trumpet), recorded “Spirit of the Garden”, a song cycle celebrating the sublimity of gardens through song and poetry. We’re thrilled to announce that this album will be released May 7th on Sunnyside Records! Stay tuned for updates regarding its release and upcoming tours.

So…enjoy exploring my new site and as always, please stay in touch.

Thanks for all your support!


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