Sean Ali

Sean Ali
Photo by Richard Bergeron

Sean Ali is a double bassist, improviser, and composer working in a variety of projects and contexts. Originally from Dayton, OH, he currently resides in New York City where he is an active participant in the city’s vibrant musical culture both as a performer and occasional curator. His most notable ensembles include Natura Morta (with Frantz Loriot and Carlo Costa), PascAli (with Pascal Niggenkemper), While We Still Have Bodies (with Michael Foster, Ben Gerstein, and Flin van Hemmen), Hag (with Brad Henkel and David Grollman), and a string trio with Joanna Mattrey and Leila Bordreuil. These projects have been released on a diverse array of record labels, including FMR Records, Prom Night Records, Creative Sources Recordings, and Neither/Nor Records. His multidisciplinary projects include Phantom Circuit (with photographer and video artist Wenxin Zhang) and Impulsive Instrument (with Butoh dancer Azumi Oe).

In 2010, Sean co-founded Prom Night Records with Jason Anastasoff, Dustin Carlson, David Grollman, Peter Hanson, Brad Henkel, Weston Minissali, Nathaniel Morgan, Booker Stardrum, Owen Stewart-Robertson, and Jacob Wick. The label has twenty-two releases to date.

From 2012-2014, Sean was co-curator of Ze Couch, a house series based in Brooklyn and Queens that presented monthly concerts. From 2014-2015, he co-curated 65Fen Music Series, a weekly concert series in Brooklyn, which he also co-founded with Patrick Breiner, Michael Foster, Jake Henry, Adam Hopkins, and Josh Sinton. He has since curated several events at a variety of venues in NYC, including Fridman Gallery, Gallery 456, and JACK.

In 2016, one of Sean’s projects, While We Still Have Bodies, collaborated with video-artist Cheng Ran for “Diary of a Madman,” which ran at the New Museum from October 19th, 2016 to January 15th, 2017. Loosely based on a Lu Xun short story of the same name, the exhibit presented a simultaneity of video and audio narratives to which While We Still Have Bodies contributed two hours of recorded music that was acoustically spatialized throughout the exhibit.

Aside from his regular projects, Sean has performed with many notable musicians, including Tony Malaby, Tatsuya Nakatani, Steve Swell, and Jack Wright. He has toured extensively in the United States and Europe.