Sarah Marie Hughes



Photo by Andre Chung

Photo by Andre Chung


A Summary…

Sarah Hughes is an alto saxophonist, composer, and music educator from Pasadena, Maryland. She is primarily a free improviser who creates within and on top of many genre frameworks including but not limited to jazz, experimental, swing, blues, folk, pop, and rock musics. 

Sarah received a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maryland in 2008 where she studied with the brilliant classical saxophonist, Dale Underwood. She taught elementary band and strings programs in Prince George’s County for five years before leaving the DMV to earn a master’s degree in jazz saxophone performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She studied there with Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake, Anthony Coleman, and Donny McCaslin.

After graduating Sarah recorded with Anthony Coleman on his latest album "You" and performed with his ensembles at The Stone and Roulette in New York.  In 2015, Sarah toured in Sweden with Amy Bormet’s "Ephemera" as a part of Sweden's first women in jazz festival. Sarah toured with her own improvising trio, "Lead Bubbles" in 2016. She currently freelances and teaches in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC.

During her time as a musician Sarah has had the great fortune of sharing the stage with superb improvisors and composers such as: Lee Konitz, Ted Brown, Mary Halvorson, Fay Victor, Allison Miller, Joe Morris, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Daniel Carter, Michael Formanek, Matt Wilson, Dan Tepfer, George Garzone, Anthony Coleman, Ben Schwendener, Freddie Redd, and Teddy Charles. She performs locally at DC/Baltimore venues on a semi-regular basis, including Rhizome, Mobtown Ballroom, Red Room, An Die Musik, Twins Jazz, Sotto, Goethe Institute, Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery, The Hill Center, and the Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom.


upcoming performances


Words in the News…


Sarah Hughes...isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel, isn’t looking to pioneer some new subgenre of jazz or creative music or even really looking to expand its vocabulary for posterity. It’s not about posterity. She simply wants to find a place wherein she’s creatively fulfilled and comfortable. That’s more than enough—hell, it’s everything.
— Michael West, Washington City Paper

“I’ve always had a problem repeating myself,” Sarah Hughes says of her music. “I equate repetition with being kind of stuck. A person isn’t evolving if they keep repeating themselves.”
— Best of D.C. 2018, Washington City Paper

On the subject of creative growth, wow. Hughes has sustained the most stunning arc in recent memory, and moments of that came in defiance of a nightmarish assault and theft earlier this year. Conceptually, technically, improvisationally, she is one step ahead of damn near all of us—keep your eye and ear on her.
— Michael J. West, Jazzie Awards 2017, The District Now

Inside cover of the Washington Post. Check out what I have to say about the role of local musicians in our communities.


A one-of-a-kind performance from Sarah Hughes — and a handful of audience members

"...certainly one of the most inspiring nights of music this reviewer has witnessed."