In Memoriam: Sean Malone

Sean Malone

Very sad news to share today. Cynic bassist Sean Malone has passed away at the age of 50. A cause of death has not been revealed. The news was broken by Cynic vocalist Paul Masvidal on his Facebook page.

“I learned today that Sean Malone has died. I am numb and grief stricken,” he wrote. “He had a brilliant mind, a gracious heart and was one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever encountered. I know that this is a shocking loss for so many fans whose lives he touched with his artistry, as it is for me. Please keep him in your thoughts and listen to his playing to celebrate his life.”

Before joining Cynic in 1993, Malone worked as a session musician for Latin jazz groups and British pop. He joined the Florida progressive metal band’s ranks unexpectedly. Cynic’s bassist quit just before recording in the studio that Malone was working at, so they asked him to record for what would become the landmark album, Focus. His use of fretless bass throughout the album was unusual, especially for the time, and helped create a unique sound. The chemistry, especially with drummer Sean Reinhart, was so good that he stayed on for the tour.

Cynic would initially split in 1994. Malone used this time to continue working as a session bassist, recording on over fifty albums. He also authored four bass books: Music Theory for Bassists, Dictionary of Bass Grooves, Rock Bass, and A Portrait of Jaco: The Solos Collection. Malone’s knack for academia led to presenting at music conferences like The Society for Music Theory and The Glenn Gould Conference in addition to teaching at University of Central Missouri and Carnegie Mellon University as a professor of music theory.

The bassist released one solo album, Cortlandt, and created the supergroup Gordian Knot for two albums. Malone rejoined Cynic in 2008 for the album Traced in Air, though he didn’t tour with the band due to teaching commitments. He continued to record with the group on Carbon-Based Anatomy and 2014’s Kindly Bent to Free Us.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sean Malone.

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  1. Piotr Nowara

    One of a kind player. His bass lines are technically complex yet beautiful and full of space at the same time. RIP…

  2. Joe Mills

    Sad news. I always enjoyed Sean’s bass lines and his progressive style has strongly influenced me. Although different in style, I found his playing to be an interesting progression from my Tony Levin influence. I first heard Sean on the OSI album, Office of Strategic Influence (2002), back when I was forming my musical tastes beyond 70’s and 80’s prog. His music will always be a part of my life.

  3. Scott Isaacson

    Great player…sad lost.

  4. Lud

    Very sad day…One more…There has been a lot memories to listen to him, Cynic, Gordian, with my better friends and it was very good moments that eveyone needs…Thanks for all ! Sincerely my TOTAL respect and hope you will be in peace…all my condolences for everyone who loved you..RESPECT FOREVER