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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan: A Gambler's Hand

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Drummer Sean Noonan's A Gambler's Hand is an innovative musical suite that explores the world of a compulsive Irish gambler who finds himself trapped inside a wall. The project was conceived during a period when Noonan lived in a basement apartment and had a mysterious next-door neighbor; a man he never saw but could often hear screaming and pounding on the walls. Noonan thought perhaps his music and drumming would comfort the man, so he tried to communicate with him through the drums. This experience, combined with Noonan's ongoing interest in folklore and the work of playwright Samuel Beckett and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan's Brewed by Noon: Boxing Dreams

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There's a solid history of jazz supplying the soundtrack for boxing. In fact, Jack Dempsey, and boxing in general, was one of the sporting kings of the jazz age. But while Miles Davis gamely tried to string boxing along as he pushed jazz forward, both art forms have seen better days--in terms of popularity--than those they now find before them. Thankfully, Sean Noonan hasn't gotten the notice of surrender. The latest offering from his Brewed by Noon outfit finds the group energetically hoofing it to Boxing Dreams that stir Celtic and African blood in a sweaty gym of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan: Being Brewed By Noon

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Few musicians since Miles Davis have had such a penchant for boxing as drummer Sean Noonan--the CD photos for Being Brewed by Noon show him bedecked in all the trappings of the sport, and he boxes with a pumpkin-headed monster in the video version of “Pumpkinhead Part 2" in the accompanying DVD.This new record is not so much the boxer's follow-up to the fine Stories to Tell (Songlines, 2006) as it is a second kick at the same can. Six of the twelve numbers on this package were also featured on the earlier effort, and more generally, the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan Brewed By Noon: Stories To Tell

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Stories To Tell by drummer Sean Noonan and his Brewed By Noon group is a perfect example of what that much abused word, fusion, should be about. Here we find a grand mix of various world musics, including West African, which is music Noonan clearly loves and Celtic/Gaelic, which is from Noonan's ethnic roots. Added to this rather eclectic mix is the notion of storytelling in both the African and Irish traditions as obviously represented by the use of words, but also by most of the tunes having their own dramatic arc. The music tells a story ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan: Stories to Tell

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Stories to Tell, by drummer Sean Noonan's group Brewed by Noon, offers a funky feast of music. An eclectic mix of jazz, rock and world music, the ten cuts on the CD draw on many cultures and influences, creating a combination that defies categorization. There's also a lot of humor; witness Aram Bajakian's liner notes, which begin, “Sean Noonan kicks my ass." But don't be fooled by the irreverence and informality--Stories to Tell is bursting with talented musicians and interesting sounds. The most powerful cuts on the disc are the vocal pieces. The standout vocalist is Abdoulaye ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sean Noonan Brewed By Noon: Stories To Tell

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Sean Noonan Brewed By Noon Stories To Tell Songlines 2006

The electric guitar has now been around in jazz for more years than it wasn't, but it still sometimes sounds like the organism might reject the graft. This has nothing to do with a shortage of great jazz players: for pure supple beauty one need go no further than Oscar Moore's solo, at once crystalline and labyrinthine, on the Nat King Cole Trio's 1944 recording of “Body And Soul.

But what Moore didn't address, and what has since been the source of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Noonan: Stories to Tell

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Percussionist Sean Noonan's Songlines debut, Stories to Tell, is an early contender for one of 2007's most eclectic releases. A mind-bendingly diverse blend of West African song-forms, Gaelic folk melodies, urban funk rhythms, blazing electric guitars and raucous Downtown free jazz, Noonan's eponymous ensemble is as multifaceted as post-modernism gets.

With a self-released session from 2005 to its credit, Noonan's original lineup is joined by a number of high-profile guest musicians on this sophomore effort. Downtown icons like guitarist Marc Ribot, violist Mat Maneri and percussionist Jim Pugliese supply passionate performances to an already assertive set. ...



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