Lofish Studios. Photo by Gilad Hekselman.
Sean Conly is a bassist (electric/contrabass) and composer whose love and affection for a huge spectrum of the world’s musics have made him an extremely versatile performer. As a player and a writer, Sean is constantly looking for ways to mix the traditional with the new, in an never ending journey to mix melody harmony rhythm and sound into a unique artistic voice.
Born in Gunnison Colorado, raised in Topeka Kansas, he has been obsessed with music for his entire life. At age six,Sean began playing guitar and writing songs trying to emulate the music his parents loved such as the Beatles, The Doors and Harry Nilsson. In school band Sean played percussion but as his teen years began and he wanted to start a band he picked up the electric bass. "My grandmother bought me a bass for Christmas when I was thirteen. It came with a Mel Bay method book which I stayed up most of the night devouring and then the next morning I went to a band tryout ." Within A few months Sean started to play around town. For the rest of his teens he played in numerous bands performing in venues across the Midwest. Sean was already a voracious listener and was spending many nights glued to the radio discovering any and all kinds of music. Punk funk rock metal r/b and many more styles were all in constant rotation. Eventually It was thru these nighttime binges that he became more and more attracted to jazz and improvised music from such artists as Charle Mingus The Revolutionary Ensemble and Ornette Coleman and Jaco Pastorius.
After high school, Sean moved to Kansas City to attend the UMKC Conservatory of Music where he began to study the Contrabass, but his real education happened on the bandstand with local legends such as Ahmad Alaadeen, Tim (Timbone) Williams, Jay McShann, Claude “fiddler” Williams Rich Hill, Norman "Bishop" Williams, Horace Washington and many others.
Studying in the days and working 4 or 5 nights a week helped him solidify his playing, He also started to write and arrange music for his own groups, and for the university's jazz orchestra and for mentor Ahmad Alaadeen. Kansas City had a lot to offer but Sean had always had his eyes set on moving to New York City, so in an attempt to learn more and to bridge the gap between NYC and KC, he moved to Paterson New Jersey to study under Rufus Reid at William Paterson University.
A year later he moved to Manhattan, where he has resided ever since. Since then he has gone on to tour the world and/or record with a diverse list of artists such as Gregory Tardy, Freddie Hubbard, Regina Carter, Ray Barretto, Charles Blenzig, Michael Franks, Tom Harrell, Andrew Hill, Nicholas Payton, Stefon Harris, Yoron Israel, Eric Lewis, Deidre Murray, John Mcneil, Timucin Sahin, James Moody , Mike Stern, Rick Margitza, Michael Attias, Tony Malaby , Myron Walden, Phillip Harper, Russ Lossing, Anthony Coleman, Avishai Cohen (trpt), Ayelet Rose Gottleib, Vana Gehrig Trio, Darius Jones, Ken Vandermark/Steve Swell Quartet, The Newport Millenium Celebration (with Cedar Walton, Randy Brecker, Howard Alden, Lou Tobackin, Francisco Mela, Paula West, Joe Fiedler’s “Stunt Chicken”, Iranian singer/songwriter Mohsen Namjoo and many, many others.
As a band leader or co/ leader he has performed with several stellar groups over the years starting with The Invisibles featuring Ben Monder, Tony Malaby, John OGalliger and Tony Moreno, Re:Action with Michael Attias Tony Malaby and Pheeroan Aklaff, Grassroots with Darius Jones, Chad Taylor and Alex Harding, High Low Brow with Mike Pride and Mary Halvorson, Think Shadow with Michael Attias and also as a solo performer. Recently He has unveiled a new piano trio , The True North Project, featuring Tom Rainey and Kris Davis. In May 2018 Cleanfeed will release a new trio Recording ”Hard Knocks” featuring saxophonist Michaël Attias and Satoshi Takeishi on drums.
Sean is also an in demand Teacher. He has given clinics on four continents and since 2009 has been on the faculty of The Collective School of Music (thecollective.edu). In 2017 He was chosen as the recipient educator in The Alaadeen Jazz Master/Apprentice program and in 2018 was an Judge at the Notre Dame Jazz Fest.