Alumni Spotlight: Will Sellenraad

Will Sellenraad headshot

Will Sellenraad has earned a fast growing reputation of being at the forefront of creative musicians working in New York City.  Known for his brilliant improvisations and his compelling, melodic compositions, this New York City native melds the various styles, phrasings and concepts of the jazz idiom with the raw elements of soul, rock and funk, to create a singular sound that is nothing short of inspiring.

We talked to Will about growing up in downtown New York City in the 1980s, how his journey to and through Goddard started his musical journey towards jazz. “I was really into blues…that’s where all jazz musicians should start anyway.” 

Despite enjoying the respite in rural Vermont, he learned that to do what he wanted to do musically, he would have to return to New York. After graduating from the New School, Will talks about entering the jazz scene in the 1990s through a happy hour gig, how the pandemic has affected the scene and what he hopes it looks like when it comes back. Will is dedicated to the craft of music and the discipline of practice, “I have no business calling what I do art, I mean that’s for somebody else to say. All I can do is work on my craft and try to get better.”

Deko Music released his album Star Hustler in February 2021 and will release Balance in April 2021. You can pick up all of Will’s releases at his store: https://www.merchbucket.com/collections/will-sellenraad

You can also check out Will’s recent solo videos on his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/WillSellenraad/featured

Music credits throughout this episode all written by Will Sellenraad:

  • “Alter Ego,” from Greene Street, vol. 1
  • “Stubbs,” from Balance
  • “Star Hustler,” from Star Hustler

For more about Will, please visit his website: https://www.willsellenraad.com/

Recommendations: 

Musicians: Jay Clayton, Keith Jarrett, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, Young Lions (Wynton Marsalis), Jeff Watts, John Sears, Reggie Workman, Marcus Belgrave, Kenny Barron, Spike Wilner

Movies: Mo’ Better Blues

Jazz venues: Smalls, Mezzrow, Bar Bayeux

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