Sean Nelson is a trombonist, composer, and bandleader in Connecticut. He is enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he plays with the Coast Guard Band ’s concert band and jazz ensembles and serves as staff arranger . In addition, he is music director for the Guardians Big Band, where he has presented concerts with guests including Doc Severinsen, Lou Marini, and Joe McCarthy. As an educator, he is on faculty of the University of Connecticut, where he teaches jazz trombone.
As an arranger and composer, Sean worked on the production team for the 2015 National Christmas Tree Lighting, creating several arrangements for guests including Andra Day, Kelsea Ballerini, and Tori Kelly. This program was performed for the Obama family and heard nationally on PBS. He has composed the official song for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officer corps (one of the eight federal uniformed services), sung by all recruits at basic officer training as well as other official events. Sean has won the National Band Association Young Composers Jazz Composition Contest and is a two time winner of Downbeat Magazine’s Student Jazz Arranging Contest. He currently works as the arranger for Sam Houston State University Bearkat Marching Band, writing new shows each season.
Sean leads the New London Big Band, a 17 piece jazz orchestra that plays monthly to sold out shows and attracts professional and amateaur dancers from all over the state. The band released their first album in 2020, “Dancing Nitely,” to rave reviews.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Sean received a Bachelor of Music degree from Sam Houston State University, studying trombone with Henry Howey, and a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas, studying trombone with Tony Baker and jazz arranging with Paris Rutherford and Rich DeRosa. While at North Texas, he was trombonist and composer for the One O’Clock Lab Band and sang with the Jazz Singers I. Sean’s trombone quartet won the International Trombone Association Quartet Contest, and he was honorable mention in the ITA’s Frank Smith Solo Competition. He spent his summers and winter breaks playing in house bands on cruise ships for Princess Cruises and Cunard Cruises.