Colin Dean
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Colin Dean

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Jazz World


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"Quote from Buster Williams"

“Colin Dean is ready for prime-time. His writing, his playing, his leadership, all display a maturity far beyond his years. I’ve watched him develop and hone his skills with my own eyes, heard it with my own ears. Colin is ready for prime-time.” - Quote from Buster Williams

"Quote from Bobby Sanabria"

“Depth of thought in the compositions, lyricism, and sensitivity in the playing with a touch of world rhythms are the hallmarks of this recording (Shiwasu). To find these qualities in someone as young as Colin is indeed a joy to behold.” - Quote from Bobby Sanabria

""Shiwasu" CD Review"

At first sight of this new recording by Long Island, NY native composer acoustic bassist Colin Dean titled “Shiwasu” I was moved by what was to come musically but unaware of what to expect simply because I hadn’t heard his music before …. that’s of course until now.

As you know, for those of you that have frequent this spot I get a rush when new music by unexpected artists arrives in my mail box. As usual, I’m excited with anticipation as I crack open the seal to see who’s performing on this project and then at a glance I noticed one of my favorite pianists the indelible Rachel Z appears throughout. Also playing here, are unfamiliar voices like Sean Nowell on (Tenor & Soprano Saxophones), Colin Stranahan (Drums) and of course Colin Dean on acoustic bass rounds out the ensemble.

With his debut project “Shiwasu,” Dean labored diligently to score seven relevant compositions to unleash his passion on Roots and Grooves Music. However, to my dismay, I was initially disappointed with the total playing length of this record. Nonetheless, all worries aside playing time in this case does not hinder the possibly of greatness that awakens from within the body of the music regardless of time.

The opening piece, “Growth” compositionally allows space for Colin Stranahan on drums and the incomparable Rachel Z on piano to skillfully deploy their mellifluous solos in time emerge into creative ideas with agility as the ensemble slowly gains momentum to effectively execute familiar voicing’s to unfold their zealous tonality to counterbalance this engaging piece.

“Colin Dean attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City and received a BFA in jazz performance in May 2006.” Dean deeply rooted in the hub of music as a leader, and music director set his eyes on the prize to launch his own band Roots and Grooves. To my surprise, Colin has honed his skills by playing with not only great jazz players but he also collaborated with a host of diverse artists including hip-hop stars namely Eternia and Hasan Salaam and he also opened for Snoop Dog, KRS-One and many others in this genre. It goes to show, whatever you do, wherever you go … don’t judge an artist by the music they play!

The remaining pieces on “Shiwasu,” are energized with a conscious effort to unveil an atmosphere which contains attractive tones, shapes and textures comprise by the pliable voices of this incredible quartet featuring the infallible Rachel Z on the funky “Wakan. The ensemble’s creativity clearly widens with Barda, Akasha & Brooklyn Ferry.” These songs in summary captures the character, balance and subtle brilliance exhibited through Dean’s proverbial compositional style and extraordinary playing displayed by him and his tenacious quartet.

Finally, the session concludes with the exquisite musings of “My Ship” … this gem is saturated with the elegant and lush tones provided by saxophonist Sean Novell. Great ending … by chance if you dig accessible music with layers of compelling intricacies and lingering shapes throughout then I can’t say enough about the music and the remarkable interplay by this fearless quartet. Colin Dean carved rudiments of modern jazz into his voice without feeling indebted to playing traditional jazz. Thanks for doing you … - The Urban Flux

""Shiwasu" CD Review"

This cat grew up in music and you can tell how it is infused in his fibers. This bass player is a young jazzbo that can do it all with grace and chops to spare crafting a solid date that burns with a low key fire that doesn't quit. Lightly left leaning, on the progressive edge of mainstream, this is solid sitting down jazz ensemble work that keeps you in it's groove throughout. Tasty stuff from a cat you might as well get to know now since you are going to be hearing a lot from him in the future. - Midwest Record

""Shiwasu" CD Review"

Bassist and composer Colin Dean graduated from New York's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2006, and has since played across musical genres that include jazz, hip-hop and indie rock. Shiwasu, his first recording under his own name, finds him in the company of three distinguished fellow musicians on a set of tunes that draw on Dean's non-jazz influences to bring a fresh edge to mainstream modern jazz.

Dean and drummer Colin Stranahan form a tight and dynamic rhythm section, while saxophonist Sean Nowell—who plays in Dean's jazz and hip-hop orchestra, Roots and Grooves—is a melodic, precise lead player, especially on soprano. Pianist Rachel Z moves between roles with ease—her rhythm playing is full and rich, her solos are lyrical and inventive.

Of Dean's own compositions, "Wakan" is a standout tune, a beautiful melody, handled mainly by Z, with some fine percussion from Stranahan and a fluid solo from Dean himself. "Akasha" is the most emphatic display of Dean's hip-hop influences—a solid groove from Dean, Stranahan and Z underpins the melody from Newell's tenor sax, before Z takes over with a sparkling piano solo, full of chunky chords and tight runs. Z also impresses on "Brooklyn Ferry"—her playing, coupled with Dean's flowing bass line, evokes the gentle motion of a ship on the water.

There are two covers on Shiwasu: Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart's "My Romance," and Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin's "My Ship." The former tune is given a straightforward, somewhat anonymous arrangement, although Z once again delivers some splendid piano, and Dean's own playing is crisply swinging. "My Ship," from the musical Lady In The Dark, retains its well-known melody but the quartet invest it with a slightly more up-tempo and syncopated arrangement than usual: Stranahan's brushed drums drive the tune along, while Z's piano, Nowell's soprano, and Dean's arco bass each take turns acting as the lead instrument.

Shiwasu is a strong recording—mainstream, but with added influences that lift it out of the well-worn path. Dean is a musician with some innovative ideas and the ability to make them work, and his tunes on Shiwasu signal the arrival of a worthy new talent. - All About Jazz


Shiwasu - released October 5, 2010



Colin Dean was born and raised in Long Island, New York. The son of a drummer, he has been surrounded by music his entire life. He began playing upright bass at nine years old, soon followed with a fretless electric bass as well. He began playing a wide variety of styles very early, including regular performances with the Long Island Sound Symphony, annual high school musical theater productions and jazz band concerts, and became an in-demand bassist for Long Island jazz, blues and swing bands.

He attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City and received a BFA in jazz performance in May 2006. While at the New School he studied with masters including Buster Williams, Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, Bobby Sanabria, Rachel Z, Bill Kirchner, Vic Juris, Andy McKee, Benny Powell, Jimmy Owens, Joe Chambers, Jane Ira Bloom and others, where he refined his skills as a bassist and composer.

After graduating from the New School, he emerged as a bandleader and music director, launching his own band, Roots and Grooves. Their debut was supported in part through a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and they have been performing steadily ever since. In addition to being a jazz performer, Colin is also becoming an in-demand bassist across genres. He has recently collaborated with hip hop artists Eternia and Hasan Salaam, and opened for artists such as Snoop Dog, KRS-One, MC Lyte, Bahamadia and Jean Grae, to name a few. He also spent nearly two years performing and recording with the internationally acclaimed indie-rock orchestra Emanuel and the Fear.

Colin recently finished production of his debut album as a leader, “Shiwasu”. The original compositions are deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, while also drawing inspiration from a wide variety of styles such as world music and hip hop. It features Rachel Z on piano, Sean Nowell on tenor and soprano saxophones, and Colin Stranahan on drums. Rachel Z is a world renown musician and has worked with artists such as Peter Gabriel and Wayne Shorter. Sean Nowell is one of the top jazz saxophonists in New York and has several of his own records out as a leader. Colin Stranahan recently graduated from the Thelonius Monk Jazz Institute and has studied and performed with artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Kurt Rosenwinkel. “Shiwasu” is scheduled for release October 5, 2010.

In addition, Colin is also currently pursuing a Masters Degree in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School. His research focuses on how music and art can be used to contribute to a culture of peace, through cultural diplomacy, human rights advocacy, conflict transformation and development.