Born in Salem, MA, USA, in 1991, Sam was raised in Dublin, Ireland. Starting with Irish traditional music, he played tin whistle and Irish flute from the age of 9. A love of the music of Charles Mingus made him take up saxophone at 15. After four years studying with Patrice Brun, he attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Being surrounded by musicians such as Dave Douglas, Matana Roberts, Donny McCaslin and Drew Gress opened his mind to the possibilities of creative music.
Sam completed his BA in Jazz Performance at 21 in Newpark Music Centre, Dublin, studying saxophone with Michael Buckley and composition with Ronan Guilfoyle. Moving to Brussels for his masters, he studied saxophone with John Ruocco, composition with Kris Defoort, and rhythm with Stéphane Galland at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, where he was awarded the "Toots Thielemans Award", given to their most exceptional masters student. When performing at the Concours Tremplin Jazz d'Avignon 2017 with Thunderblender, Sam was awarded "Best Instrumentalist"
Active on the European scene, he specialises in creative improvised music, playing tenor and bass saxophone.
Current projects include his own trio Thunderblender, with Jens Bouttery and Hendrik Lasure, Insufficient Funs, a bass saxophone/drums duo with Matthew Jacobson, Aerie, an avant-garde jazz quintet led by Ingo Hipp (DE), Umbra, Chris Guilfoyle's contemporary jazz quintet, Hendrik Lasure's warm bad, Heptatomic, a Belgian septet led by Eve Beuvens, and Brilliant Corners, a free jazz quartet founded by Manolo Cabras (IT).
As a saxophonist, he represented Ireland in the European Saxophone Ensemble from 2012-2014. Led by Guillaume Orti, the project premiered works from composers working in contemporary improvised music, and performed 22 concerts in 14 European countries. He has represented Ireland twice in the 12 Points Festival, in 2015 and 2016.
He has worked with musicians and composers such as Hayden Chisholm, Ronan Guilfoyle, Guillaume Orti, Andrew Hozier-Byrne, Joao Lobo, André Vida, Ingrid Laubrock, Stéphane Payen, Yoch'ko Seffer, Nick Roth, Utsav Lal, and many more.