Sean Mason is a jazz pianist and composer based in New York City, quickly emerging as one of the premier talents of his generation. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sean took to the piano at age 13, teaching himself to play by ear the music of his upbringing; gospel, R&B & soul which quickly evolved into a highly original jazz style. Sean’s unique voice in jazz is steeped in southern culture, giving extended time for groove without needing to fill in the space, while also displaying a range of vocabulary far beyond his years. As a bandleader, Sean leads two groups, the Sean Mason Trio based in Charlotte, and the Sean Mason Quintet in New York. Both groups play Sean’s original music which has been described as highly melodic, swinging gospel jazz; as Sean puts it, “my purpose is to play dance music.” Folk music, stride piano and the style of Sean’s early hero Ray Charles are the main ingredients in a stew that is greater than the sum of its parts.
When studying at the University Of North Carolina-Greensboro, Sean met jazz legend Branford Marsalis who was immediately taken with the young student and recommended he apply to the Juilliard School in New York, “I told my brother [Wynton Marsalis, director of Juilliard Jazz], ‘be on the lookout for this kid.’” Upon arrival in New York, Sean hit the ground running, quickly securing residencies for his groups at some of the more prestigious jazz clubs such as Smoke Jazz Club and Smalls Jazz Club, as well as sideman work with such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Catherine Russell, Herlin Riley, and many more; all while completing his studies at Juilliard. A major stepping stone occurred when NPR’s influential multimedia show “Jazz Night In America” chose Sean among 5 musicians for their “Youngbloods” series. Penetrating even further into popular culture Sean was featured on Branford Marsalis’ film score to the highly acclaimed Netflix production of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”.
Sean’s debut record will be released in early 2023 on Blue Engine Records, the label of Jazz At Lincoln Center. Produced by Branford Marsalis, it is an album of original compositions for the Sean Mason Quintet, featuring a lineup of young all-stars; Tony Galusi (trumpet), Chris Lewis (tenor saxophone), Felix Moseholm (bass), Domo Branch (drums) and Sean leading at the piano. Early reports cite the record’s impressive display of maturity from such burgeoning talents. As Sean continues touring the world as a bandleader and sideman while fitting in near-constant session work, the future is bright.
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