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Sean  Sullivan

Sean  Sullivan

Sean  Sullivan

How do you describe your music to people? 

Hard to box me in but much of what I do has a kind of joyful, earthy, bluesy wisdom that comes from living in the moment and sharing that with people in performance. I'm after the truth. Brian Mansfield of USATODAY got pretty close when he said "HEREAFTER is the sweet spot between jazz, soul, rock and Americana, and recalls the recordings of Boz Scaggs and Al Jarreau". 

What are your songs about? What specific themes do they cover?

My music arises from questions that we all have about life and love, meaning, being a musician, and often contain a positive spiritual message and a sense of humor. As a southern-born native New Yorker I'm at home with either urban or down-home genres.  Also the melting pot of the city gave birth to and nurtured my interest in Latin, Brazilian, Carribean and other rhythms of the world. I also lived and gigged for a time in Puerto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, soaking up the sun and the local sounds.

Discuss the songwriting process for you…how do you write?

Intuitively, usually from a central idea or phrase that comes from God knows where. Once a workable idea reveals itself I continue to write the song,  because I know its there. i try to stay out of the way of overthinking and let the song write itself. By no means does that mean that the rest of the song comes as spontaneously as did he generative idea.  However, I believe that even a slowly crafted song must still be one of gut recognition to ring true. The intellect is only a tool to serve the higher intelligence of the human spirit.”

Who are your musical influences?

I have been fortunate to have learned the ropes personally from legends like Jon Hendricks & David "Fathead" Newman...recording and performing with NY's best...early on I felt a kinship for Mose Allison, Al Jarreau, Michael Franks, Earl Klugh, Nat "King" Cole, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Jimmy Witherspoon, the jazz ladies...Billie, Ella, Dinah, Sarah, Carmen...pop songwriters like the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Carole King, Joni Mitchell . I respected and learned the most from the great works of composers that jazz musicians draw from Monk, Miles, Parker, Rollins, Duke, Jobim, and American Songbook and Tin Pan Alley greats like Gershwin, Porter, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin etc.

How do you rate your live performance ability? 

Live performance is where I live. I love to create a relaxed "living room" environment where everyone participates. "Glamour" situations prevent the flow of truth.

What is your music background? 

Mostly  the "University of Gigs" and the school of the streets. Formal training includes jazz studies at Berklee College of Music, the New England Conservatory, the New School, and a BA in English literature from Wesleyan University.

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Golden Thread
Songwriting inspired by travel to Big Sur, Calif.
Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival
Russian River Jazz & Blues Fest
SEP 9-10, 2017
Johnson's Beach & Resort, Guerneville, CA
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