Home » Jazz Musicians » Sean Mason - piano

Sean Mason - piano

When Sean Mason speaks about music, you can hear the notes falling into place. The cadence of his ideas unfolds with deliberate tempo, each exploring and resolving tension like an inspired chord progression. On his debut album, The Southern Suite, he emerges as a guiding luminary, shining his introspective command as both a pianist and composer through the historic lens of jazz to create a work that distills the essence of the genre for our time even as it points the way forward.

“This album is situated at the intersection of ‘renaissance’ and ‘street culture’” explains Mason. “Each song represents a deviation from traditionalism and the cultural norms that I often felt forced to conform to, leading me to embrace the convergence of such paradoxical concepts and embody them through the musical language.” The Southern Suite portrays a resolution of these polar forces and is a bold statement of purpose from Mason, a generational talent well on his way to becoming a leading pianist/composer of his time.

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sean took to the piano at the late age of 13, teaching himself by ear to play the styles of music he was most attracted to. His approach quickly evolved into a highly original language. Sean’s unique voice in jazz is steeped in the sound of the South, allowing an extended time for groove while also displaying a vocabulary far beyond his years. As a bandleader, he leads the Sean Mason Quartet, a band assembled to play Sean’s original music, which has been described as highly melodic and infectious.

“I first got into music by going to church every Sunday, but the movie Ray was the catalyst for me to actually begin playing piano,” recalls Mason. “My grandmother gifted me a small Casio piano and from there I began teaching myself to play, studying for countless hours and devoting concentrated time on developing my sound.” During his time in North Carolina, Sean met jazz legend Branford Marsalis, who was immediately taken by Sean’s musicality and recommended he move to New York. “I told my brother [Wynton Marsalis], ‘Be on the lookout for this kid,’” Marsalis recalls. Upon his arrival, Sean hit the ground running, quickly securing performances and residencies at some of New York’s most prestigious jazz clubs, all while attending The Juilliard School.

The genesis of Sean’s debut album The Southern Suite came from an all-star quintet which Mason handpicked: Tony Glausi (trumpet), Chris Lewis (tenor saxophone), Felix Moseholm (bass), and Domo Branch (drums). Mason recalls, “It was during the first rehearsal that we realized how special of a group we were. We had only played through my first two songs when we all stopped, looked at each other, smiled... and said, ‘Whoa—we should record this.’ From there, I got the ball moving for us to record an

Read more


Radio & Podcasts

Abdullah Ibrahim, Julie Kelly, John Coltrane & Sean Mason

Read "Abdullah Ibrahim, Julie Kelly, John Coltrane & Sean Mason" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We kick off a new 846th Episode of Neon Jazz out of Kansas City with rising keyboard talent Sean Mason and music from his 2024 release The Southern Suite. From there, we hear from an indelible influence on Sean in Ray Charles. We also hear a dandy of tunes from the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, John Korbel, Rose Mallet and David Friesen. We also profile new music from Abdullah Ibrahim with music from Still Hard Boppin.' The hour comes to a ...

Radio & Podcasts

Sean Mason, Juka Eskola, Timo Lassy, Elan Mehler & More

Read "Sean Mason, Juka Eskola, Timo Lassy, Elan Mehler & More" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

If the episodes of a radio show could have a capital, the capital of this one would have to be New Orleans, where almost all the roads coming out of the songs in this playlist lead, one way or another. Happy listening! Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Juka Eskola, Timo Lassy “Cross-Atlantic Connection" Nordic Brew (Dox) 0:16 Host talks 6:11 Nicole Johänntgen “Lac Léman" Labyrinth (Selmabird) 7:45 Host ...

Take Five With...

Take Five With Pianist Sean Mason

Read "Take Five With Pianist Sean Mason" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Sean Mason On Friday, November 17th at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey, pianist Sean Mason will lead a five-piece ensemble and two wonderful singers in a special tribute to Disney's centennial. In a one-night only concert, audiences will hear 100 years of Disney through the lens of jazz. “When You Wish Upon a Star--A Jazz Tribute to 100 Years of Disney" presents popular songs from famous Disney films such as Snow White, Mary Poppins ...

Album Review

Joel Ross: The Parable Of The Poet

Read "The Parable Of The Poet" reviewed by Chris May

The story of jazz is part musical and part social, the two strands interacting to shape, on one hand, the sound we hear and, on the other, the demographic who make it and constitute its audience. Viewed from London, the semiology surrounding New York-based vibraphonist Joel Ross' octet, heard on his third Blue Note album, The Parable Of The Poet, tells a social story as much as it does a musical one. The octet's optics (check the ...

Album Review

Catherine Russell: Send for Me

Read "Send for Me" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Il valore della tradizione. È l'aspetto che la cantante Catherine Russell ribadisce dal 2006, quando pubblicò il suo primo album da leader, dopo anni di lavoro come corista con Donal Fagen, gli Steely Dan, Wynton Marsalis, Madonna, David Bowie e altri. Quando terminò la collaborazione col cantante britannico dopo l'uscita di Reality (Iso Records 2003), Catherine era prossima ai 50 anni ed era restìa a intraprendere un percorso solista. Invece fu una scelta indovinata, come dimostra il successo dei suoi ...

Rising Stars

Meet Pianist Sean Mason

Read "Meet Pianist Sean Mason" reviewed by Sanford Josephson

This article first appeared in Jersey Jazz Magazine. Sean Mason got a late start on piano. He began playing at age 13 after first trying trombone and percussion. As a result, he said, “I didn't apply to any music schools for college. I just decided to go about 1 ½ hours from where I lived (in jny: Charlotte, NC) to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro." UNCG does, however, offer degrees in Music Education and ...

Read more articles




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Send for Me

Dot Time Records


The Parable Of The...

Blue Note Records


We Are Made

Sound Poets Productions


Standing in the Vision

Self Produced


Hope and a Future

From: Standing in the Vision
By Sean Mason - piano


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.