Mar. 28, 2017
When I’m checking out pianists and keyboardists, I’m always looking for that “it” factor – that funky and/or sweet melodic thang that courses through their veins and very souls and manifests itself in their respective styles. Keiko Matsui has “it,” Jeff Lorber has “it,” Brian Simpson has “it,” Brian Culbertson has “it,” Candy Dulfer’s sidekick Chance Howard has “it,” and the wonderful late great George Duke and Joe Sample had “it.” Al DeGregoris and Patrick Bradley also come to mind.
In my humble opinion, we can now add the infectious style and chops of Sean Uliasz (aka Sean U), a totally in-the-groove young man from Southwick, MA who’s making his entrance into the world of smooth/funk jazz by way of his exciting debut EP entitled Electrify. This initial project from the pianist/keyboardist/composer who’s been performing live throughout CT and MA tells me that the young artist will be among our most noted in no time. That “it” factor screams from his piano/keys in ways that refuse to let the dance, the head bop, and the foot tap in you resist. Most recently, Sean performed as a first place winner for the Crescendo International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall in New York City, giving up a quick and sure signal of where he’s headed. Simply put, if you haven’t yet heard, him, grab a listen to this EP. Trust me, you will stand convinced.
Breaking out right away in a catch-me-if-you-dare confident groove called “60 Miles,” he never lets the mood simmer; it’s always aflame from that lead track through the stompin’ finale “Saturday Night Groove.” The funk is undeniable and his dexterity and obvious knowledge of the piano roadmap is so incredibly and pleasantly impressive.
Joining Sean on this endeavor is a guitarist familiar to many of us for his live performances with many a smooth jazz artist as well as having his own portfolio of grooves, Rohn Lawrence. His presence only serves to heat up the blaze that much more.
If this EP is any indication, watch for the rapid metamorphosis from one seeking that open door to national recognition and appreciation to one who’s enthusiastically welcomed through that door by peers and smooth jazz fans alike. A cool A+ maiden voyage! – Ronald Jackson