"The highlight is her desolate whisper through the ironically titled Jolly Street, originally sung by Jeff Buckley, which inspires the two best solos of the evening from Bill Ware's celestial vibes and Sam Bardfeld's spectral violin."
[Review of The Jazz Passengers with Debbie Harry and the Northern Sinfonia @ The Sage, Gateshead]
- Alfred Hickling, The Guardian (UK) (March 2011)
"[Cathedral Song] features one of the best Bardfeld solos, which is driven by his unique phrasing." [Review of Joel Harrison's String Choir]
- Mike Shanley, JazzTimes (March 2011)
"Violinist Sam Bardfeld's in good, familiar company, his sweet violin at home, adding extra spice and flair...with special guests Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry and Mark Ribot...the sextet [Jazz] Passengers work their lounge-jazz magic through intricate arrangements - Four Stars****"
- John Ephland, Downbeat (January 2011)
"Sam Bardfeld's Stuff Smith tribute was an evening of lovingly rendered music...featuring virtuosity, sensitive interplay, creative interaction and an appealing gruffness."
- Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz NY (June 2007)
"He just helped Springsteen get his big band on; now the violinist-cum-fiddler returns to a new fave pastime: celebrating the entertaining elan of Stuff Smith. Don't let the jaunty rhythms fool you. Bardfeld's a serious improviser who can inject hip lines into the master's amusing book."
- Jim Macnie, Village Voice (May, 2007)
"A virtuoso violinist"
- Ian Spelling, Bergen Record (January 2007)
"Maverick violinist Sam Bardfeld has found the perfect counterpart in pianist Anthony Coleman in his new tribute to swing-era violinist Stuff Smith"
- K. Leander Williams, Time Out NY (December 2006)
"[Bardfeld's] melodies are arch and appealing, sampling lots of harmonies without committing to any one key and dancing easily over quick rhythms or hanging lightly on even, slow beats. His violin playing always sounds relaxed even when what he's playing is anything but easy, and he can suggest a melodic direction with a single gesture."
- Andrew Lindemann Malone, JazzTimes (June 2006)
"'Periodic Trespasses' unveils Bardfeld as a composer of quirky but accessible melodies as well as a lyrically gifted soloist...as well as being one of today's more delightfully eccentric characters."
- Troy Collins, Cadence Jazz and OneFinalNote.com (April 2006)
"Bardfeld's combination of gleeful melody and light-hearted story-telling could be just the thing to turn smarter tots towards new jazz [rating - 8]"
- Shaun Brody, ThreeImaginaryGirls.com (March 2006)
"Sam Bardfeld has enough music in him to tell quite a few stories, that's plain. If popping modern jazz with a downtown wink makes it for you then by all means, get yourself a crumhorn and join the party."
- Will Layman, PopMatters.com (March 2006)
"Bardfeld has fashioned an album that's unequivocally modern and occasionally edgy in it's approach, yet completely enticing...'Periodic Trespasses' is layered enough to appeal to those with unconventional dispositions, yet it's easy enough on the ears to those who've yet to make a leap beyond the mainstream."
- John Kelman, AllAboutJazz (March 2006)
"Bardfeld presents an album full of modern Jewish intellectual reflection as practiced by such diverse artists as Saul Bellow and Woody Allen...Bardfeld has written music that exists simultaneously in the realms of the accessible and postmodern."
- Andrey Henkin, AllAboutJazz (February 2006)
- Paul Blair, Hothouse (February 2006)
"Mr. Bardfeld, a violinist with a wide-ranging resume, regroups the core musicians from his coolly evocative new album "Periodic Trespasses [The Saul Cycle]."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times (January 2006)
"PICK - With violin, vibes, and brass up front, Bardfeld creates a unique sound from the get-go. His ensemble's inviduality is furthered by dreamy turns flaunted by the tunes themselves. Has a hell of a way with Gainsbourg, too."
- Jim Macnie, The Village Voice (January 2006)
"The music itself is an uplifting blend of tightly arranged yet adventurous jazz, the frontline of violin, vibes and trumpet is a unique yet winning combination, with Sam's violin and Ron's trumpet playing superbly together...What is so nice about this disc is the way the story, the narration and the music, all flow so nicely together. Sam has written some marvelous music here, keeping the quintet on its toes through all kinds of intricate passages and lots of inspired solos. There are many surprising twists and turns when you least expect them...A most unexpected delight.
- Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery (January 2006)
“Sam Bardfeld is a marvelously gifted violinist, composer and arranger.”
—K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York (April 2005)
“[Bardfeld has written] an array of tunes that will make you grin while admiring their design” - Overall Village Voice Pick for Summer 2004
—Jim Macnie, Village Voice (June 2004)
“Bardfeld has a loose arm and a mercurial mind... lots of air and light in this wonderful band” **** 4 Stars
—Paul de Barros, Downbeat Magazine (March, 2000)
“One of the ten best jazz records of 2000”
—Tony Wilson, Coda (Feb. 2001)
“One of the ten best jazz records of 2000”
—Cadence Jazz Magazine (2001)
“A thrilling surprise... a unique and provocative voice... Bardfeld really burns it up"
—J. Bivins, Cadence Jazz Magazine (Feb. 1999)
“Taxidermy... establishes Bardfeld as a major voice”
—R. Spencer, Cadence Jazz Magazine (May,2000)
“There are not many violinists who can swing with the ease and grace of Sam Bardfeld... [He] seems at home in a relaxed style that incorporates so much of the history of jazz... delightful and fun and maintains standards of excellence. *** 3 Stars"
—Steven A. Loewy, All Music Guide (1999)
“The violin still has a rather peripheral role in improvised music, but Bardfeld has devised a language which takes in classical models, jazz harmony and pure sound. *** 3 Stars”
—The Penguin Guide to Jazz (2000)
“[Bardfeld] likes to mix his meaty moves with earthy grooves. The music on the new Taxidermy is downright frisky"
—Jim Macnie, Village Voice (December 1999)
“Taxidermy has the same delicately piroutting grace that characterised [Dave] Douglas’ series of pocket Balkan pieces”
—The Wire (UK) (March 2000)
“Provocative up-and-coming jazz violinist”
—Time Out New York (Feb. 2000)
“My advice? Go where he goes.”
—Jim Macnie, Village Voice (April 2000)
“...impressive debut... excellent group interplay... refreshing”
—Coda (Sep/Oct. 2000)
“Jazz violinist Sam Bardfeld exhibits a good deal of exuberance, along with proficient chops... a strong effort effort from a musician who has quite a bit to say.”
—Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz.com (Sept. 2000)
“An excellent new disc that goes right in the permanent collection... much fun, with brains too; the perfect date... treat yourself without hesitation."
—Steve Koenig, LaFolia.com (Nov. 1999)
“The violinist leads a cozy little group—just vibes and bass this time ‘round... Attention diners take a moment to listen.”
—Jim Macnie, Village Voice (June 2001)