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sean wayland

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"Sean Wayland Pistachio"

April 2009
Sean Wayland

By Bill Milkowski

There’s an air of Steely Dan wafting over this project, particularly on tunes like “Club Sandwhich” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” which pianist Sean Wayland sings with engaging Fagen-esque flair. The rhythm tandem of drummer Keith Carlock (a current Dan sideman) and electric bassist Tim Lefebvre is rock solid throughout, while guitar slinger Adam Rogers provides heat on the Headhunters-styled jam “Arc Is Enough” and the heavy-grooving “Stuck in Oz.” Wayland switches from electric to acoustic piano on the album’s lone uptempo swinger, an interactive piano trio number titled “John Coltrane” that features Carlock in high gear.


"Sean Wayland: Organic Cigarettes"

Sean Wayland's Pistachio is one of the more entertaining CDs I have heard in some time. I am a sucker for any groove-oriented fusion, and these guys seem to know it. This is especially true on "Organic Cigarettes," which I would suggest is a not too thinly disguised tribute to Weather Report. (I call them as I hear them.) The CD's liner notes mention the term "intergalactic funk." That is an apt description of the rhythm section performance of drummer Keith Carlock and bassist Tim Lefebvre on this cut. The insistent lowdown but spaced-out groove they offer is similar to workouts from jam band Medeski Martin & Wood. What takes this music farther out is Wayland's synthesizer playing. He does sound like Joe Zawinul. Sometimes he even sounds like John McLaughlin on guitar synthesizer trying to sound like Joe Zawinul! (That is the persona he chose for this cut. At other times on the CD, he sounds quite different.) Wayland plays all of his lines with the urgency of a guy searching for the right door, which is always fun to listen to.

I often discuss the current state of jazz with some of my older jazz fan friends, and even some of my contemporaries. Mostly I deal with the refrain that there is no good jazz being played anymore. I explain that they need to open their ears a bit more and accept the fact that, as with any popular music, jazz grows and changes. One of the best ways to get that point across is to shove them in the direction of an album like Pistachio. If only they would listen…


"Sean Wayland Writes with Madeleine Peyroux"

Australian composer SEAN WAYLAND co-writes song ‘SOMETHIN’ GRAND’ with MADELEINE PEYROUX and Larry Klein for Madeleine’s latest CD BARE BONES (Rounder Records).

Sydney born Sean has played piano for Madeleine on several occasions in the USA over the last 5 years since basing himself primarily in New York in 1999. The pair got together in 2008 and worked on some lyrics that Madeleine had previously written, fashioning a song together. Inspired by Sean’s music, Madeleine took the song to her producer Larry Klein who added some finishing touches.

The song is lyrically about having a sense of optimism amidst difficult times. Fittingly Madeleine has dedicated the work to Barack Obama and plays the piece as an encore on her live shows presently.

She recently performed the song live on the Wall St Journal website which can be watched
here: WSJ-Cafe-Madeleine-Peyroux-Performs-Somethin-

Sean was delighted to have his music interpreted by Madeleine and a stellar cast of American musicians including Klein, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dean Parks, Jim Beard and Larry Goldings. He is also thrilled to have a song sitting next to ones composed by one of his songwriting heroes Walter Becker (Steely Dan).

Sean’s latest CD Pistachio (Seed Music, Oct 2008) featuring Australia’s great guitarist James Muller and drummer Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Sting, James Taylor, Wayne Krantz) is also available from and from in Australia.

Sean continues to live in New York. As well as writing songs and instrumental music, he often performs sold-out shows at top NY jazz venues like the 55 bar, and continues to work as a pianist with NY jazzers like David Binney, Jon Gordon and Tim Miller.


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Sean Wayland è un pianista australiano residente a New York con idee molto chiare su come si possa continuare a percorrere le strade della fusion in maniera intelligente, divertente ed efficace. La regola numero uno è quella di utilizzare musicisti di grande competenza tecnica e con la capacità di saper interpretare la musica in maniera elastica e coinvolgente. La seconda regola è quella di mettere a disposizione del gruppo composizioni affilate come rasoi, pronte ad essere rivoltate come un calzino, alla ricerca della dimensione funky e degli adeguati spazi di fuga dalla banalità. La terza regola è quella di scordarsi tutto il resto e suonare.
Tutto questo avviene puntualmente in questo bell'album autoprodotto, registrato all'Avatar Studio di New York nei primi mesi del 2008. La partenza è vagamente pop, con la voce leggera di Wayland che non lascia tracce significative. Ma poi la musica prende fortunatamente il sopravvento e arrivano bordate inarrestabili che vedono in primo piano l'ottima chitarra di Adam Rogers e quella meno impattante ma comunque competente e frizzante di James Muller.

Le tastiere variegate di Wayland sono sempre centrali e spiritate, ben amalgamate con la ritmica incalzante e sorniona di Keith Carlock e Tim Lefebvre, una delle sezioni ritmiche più ustionanti del momento. Nel corso della lunga cavalcata non mancano riferimenti alla musica raffinata degli Steely Dan e al funky sorprendente e mozzafiato delle band di Herbie Hancock dei primi anni settanta. Il tutto profumato al pistacchio, come un cremoso gelato da gustare nei primi giorni di una estate bollente.

Visita il sito di Sean Wayland.

Valutazione: 3.5 stelle

Elenco dei brani:
01. Club Sandwhich; 02. Arc Is Enough; 03. Soft Oz Rock; 04. Jackie O; 05. John Coltrane; 06. Onit; 07. Dont' Get Me Wrong; 08. Be My Guest; 09. Organic Cigarettes; 10. Stuck in Oz; 11. Drag Out the Cliches; 12. E of 1.

Sean Wayland (tastiera, voce); Adam Rogers (chitarra); James Muller (chitarra); Keith Carlock (batteria); Tim Lefebvre (basso elettrico); Matt Clohesy (basso acustico nel brano “Be My Guest”).

Stile: Fusion



Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 2007

Caressing, sometimes pummeling, and there's structure, too

Author: Reviewed by John Shand
Date: 10/02/2007
Words: 357
Source: SMH

Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 25


Wine Banq, February 8

EACH time Sean Wayland returns from his New York base another leap in his music has been made. This time he began with a solo piano set, playing material from his recent eponymous album. It was quite a brave move - not because Wayland isn't up to the task, but because his playing can be as unassuming as the man, and this required a shadowed silence in Wine Banq to work.

Work it did. A scattering of original compositions were treated very freely, many of the most telling moments proceeding from the ingenuity with which Wayland made the transitions from one piece to the next.

Some pianists are like sculptors or architects in the way they improvise. Wayland is more like a masseur, caressing or squeezing out the notes, and occasionally pummeling them. That is not to say there was no architecture in the astute variations of mood and density with which the set was constructed. Amid curdled harmonies and ostinato rhythms came pools of soft, sad, scarcity - a Wayland specialty - and a suitably celestial reading of Across the Universe, one of John Lennon's least acknowledged songs.

Ostensibly a world away, the second half was performed by a lively quintet. Yet at its heart still lay more shrewd, quirky and engaging Wayland originals, with the composer joined by guitarist James Muller, alto saxophonist Dan Waples, Melbourne bassist Ben Robertson and drummer James Waples.

Muller immediately tipped a cauldron over the music with bent notes and more bent ideas, scorching runs and streams of unconsciousness. Eenan danced to a lighter swing and, after Wayland had entertained with the more dissonant implications, Waples's alto homed in on the tune's blitheness. Boxing Day had a fiendish melody and a demonic solo from Muller, crammed with slurs, growls and arcing melodic peaks. Wayland's synthesiser contribution was more modest, his best work coming on piano throughout the set. A.R.C. provided an apt climax with its change from crunching rock to gale-force swing of increasing tempo, vigorously underpinned by Robertson and Waples. - Sydney morning herald

"Expensive habit"

Expensive Habit
Sean Wayland | Seed Music
By Mark F. Turner
From Sydney Australia, pianist/composer Sean Wayland delivers Expensive Habit, a crystalline view of his formidable skills. Unbeknownst to many, Wayland has been around the globe and studio for a number of years with numerous credits and a dozen recordings as a leader. But if you took the names of Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings or Joey Calderazzo, he is a player of the same high caliber.

Like many musicians persevering without label deals, Wayland has released his own music covering the gamut of classic jazz, popular and other genres. And while the production values of Expensive Habit clearly lack “bling� and cosmetic bells and whistles, the music shines brightly on its own. Recorded in New York, it features Wayland supported by some dazzling players including saxophonists Donny McCaslin, Will Vinson and longtime associate, guitarist James Muller, also from Australia.

Fourteen originals of modern jazz that truly swing; things ignite like wild-fire. The tongue-in-cheek “ Trane Plus Molly Equals Countdown“ is a serious burning bopper, featuring Wayland’s ingenious chops on acoustic piano supported by an unyielding rhythm section. One of its cousins “Arc Etude,� is straight hard bop with fearless solos from Wayland, McCaslin’s throaty tenor and fine picking from Muller.

Wayland proves equally adept when “plugged in� mixing acoustic with synths on Beautiful,� electronic keyboards on “Accept Your Life� and computer on “Jochen Computer.�

There’s a lot to absorb, yet this is more than just a demo recording of Wayland’s skills as a performer. There’s insightful composition heard in “Grandmother Chord Repeat,� a tune that moves through dangerous time signatures. A classic romantic quality on the ballad “Little Bay� and a sense of techno-experimentation on “Surging Darkness� and “Out They Go� show Wayland’s abilities across a variety of styles.

There’s a view that “some� jazz artists take themselves too seriously. Perception, packaging and persona may be relevant to an artist’s exposure. What really matters in the end, is what the music brings to the listener. Expensive Habit most definitely provides high-quality with plenty of substance.

Track Listing: Trane Plus Molly Equals Countdown; Beautiful; Arc Etude; Accept Your Life; Oberheim; Little Bay; Wayland Solo; Grandmother Chord Repeat; Vibulator; Jochen Computer; Xpanda; Surging Darkness; Out They Go; Mcbride Transposed.

Personnel: Sean Wayland: acoustic piano, keyboards, synths, computer; Luca Benedetti: guitar; James Muller: guitar; Matt Penman: bass; Donny McCaslin: tenor sax; Will Vinson: alto sax; Chris Baumann: saxophone; Nick McBride: drums; Jochen Rueckert: drums. - all about jazz


Latest Cd is " Pistachio" (Seed music 11)
previous releases here


Sean Wayland was born in Sydney, Australia, and resides in New York now. He is well known and respected for his prolific writing, and unique harmony and rhythm.

Reviewers have said:

“Music Pours easily from Sean Wayland” : limelight CD review

“Superman plays for keeps”: Sydney Morning Herald CD review

“Sean Wayland has long been something of a legend among Sydney jazz circles”—Jazzgroove

“But if you took the names of Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings or Joey Calderazzo, he (Sean) is a player of the same high caliber”-Mark F. Turner, AllAboutJazz

His was a musical family, his father's love of jazz enabled Sean to hear the music of Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and others as a young child. His father's mother Muriel Cohen was a concert pianist and the first Australian to perform Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue D'Oiseax publicly. To this day Sean is still entranced by Debussy and Messiaen. Perhaps intimidated by living up to his family's talent, Sean chose to study the violin as a child. His interest in the piano increased and as a teenager he fooled around on the instrument. The fact that he was already an accomplished fiddler and had a busy schedule playing with school orchestras etc meant that he had little time to practise piano. In his final year of high school Sean met jazz pianist John Bostock --.

At the time in Australia it was difficult to find out about jazz and John hipped Sean to the music of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane. After school Sean spent a couple of years at University studying Electrical Engineering, but the seed had been sown and he came to realise that his calling in life was to be a musician. Sean studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1992 and 1993.

He has had numerous piano teachers including Mike Nock, Roger Frampton, Judy Bailey, and Paul Macnamara in Australia. In New York he has studied with Barry Harris, Kevin Hayes, Geoff Keezer, George Colligan, Sam Yahel and Bruce Barth. While at the Conservatorium he received the Jack Chrostowski piano award. In 1993 he was a finalist in the National Jazz Piano Awards at the Wangaratta Festival. In 1999 Sean received a grant from the Australia Council to study jazz piano in New York which helped him to relocate there.

Sean has worked for a number of internationally renowned musicians including: David Binney, Madeliene Peyroux, Keith Carlock, Tim Lefebvre, Adam Rogers Tim Miller, Ingrid Jensen, Jon Gordon, Dave Smith, Dan Pratt, Ike Sturm, Matt Geraghty, The Dangit -Bobbys, Moses Patrou, Cornell Dupree, Jesse Harris, Sheryl Bailey, Gerald Hayes, Dale Barlow, Justine Clark, Phil Slater, Jackie Orsascky, Steve Hunter, James Muller and Steve Mckenna.

Sean has released over 13 critically acclaimed CDs, featuring musicians such as Adam Nussbaum, Dennis Irwin, Seamus Blake, Chad Wackerman, Steve Kirby, Alvester Garnett, Jesse Harris, James Muller, Jochen Rueckert, Matt Penman, Donny McCaslin, Will Vinson, Keith Carlock, Adam Rogers and Tim Lefebvre.

Sean has successfully toured internationally. He has performed in many countries including U.S.A, China, Japan, England, Germany , Hong Kong and New Zealand under his own name. And in 2004, with his trio, Sean made the first instructional jazz DVD produced in China by foreigners.

As well as recording his own CDs he has appeared on numerous other jazz releases including albums by David Binney, Elana Stone, Tim Hopkins, Banana, John Mackie and Nick McBride and Luca Benedetti.

Sean’s compositions and arrangements have been recorded by James Muller, Lily Dior, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Matt McMahon, etc. Dale Barlow, Matt Penman, Gerard Masters and Dave Theak have dedicated tunes to Sean as well.