Jesse Sullivan

 

  

Seattle-based jazz guitarist Jesse Sullivan is not your typical guitarist! Doesn't play too loud, owns one guitar and one amp, and is a musical encyclopedia. While he can play in nearly any musical setting, solo guitar, guitar, bass and drums, trio, you name it, he considers himself to be a vocal jazz accompanist more than anything else. He prides himself in being an extremely supportive and dynamic accompanist who swings his tail off. He graduated from the University of Southern California on merit scholarship with Cum Laude Honors in 2015. He was one of eight students in this class receive the pristigeous Thornton Faculty Award Scholarship.

Early on, he was exposed to jazz music when he saw Bruce Forman play at Jazz at Port Townsend about a month after picking the guitar up. After that moment, he has worked hard to refine his craft and become the player he is today, one who deeply is rooted in the tradition of swing and repertoire from the Great American Songbook. He credits the older musicians he played with in his high school days in the Seattle area for fostering his love for jazz and swinging sound. Jesse's unique sound that employs a bevy of chord melodies and improvised chord solos that pay homage to swing big bands while still playing with lyricism and respect to the songs lyrics is one of many things that sets him apart from other guitarists. Unlike most guitarists, his strongest suit and favorite setting to play in is in accompanying vocalists. You read it right! A guitarist who loves playing with singers; not the first time you hear that! He credits Seattle vocalist Diana Page for helping him discover his passion for vocal accompaniment when they played regularly around the Seattle area during his senior year of high school.

He would also go on to be selected from hundreds of applicants from six states for play in the 2009 MENC All-Northwest Jazz Band directed by Fred Sturm and 2011 MENC All-Northwest Jazz Choir directed by Christine Guter. At USC, not only did he study with vocalist Kathleen Grace to become a better accompanist, but he also took voice lessons with her to see what it's like to be a vocalist. Jesse soon become the top man on campus to be called for any vocal jazz accompaniment gigs. Currently, he maintains a busy schedule of accompanying singers in Seattle as well as playing other jazz gigs!

In June of 2016, Jesse was the 5th Runner Up chosen from hundreds of applications from across the world in the Lee Ritenour Six String Theory Guitar Competition under the rhythm guitar category. In March of 2017, Jesse Sullivan accompanied Tiia Freeman, the 2017 High School Division Winner in the Seattle Kobe Female Jazz Vocalist Competition. Jesse Sullivan plays Epiphone Guitars, Vintage Sound Amps, Wegen Bluegrass Picks, and LaBella Strings.