Drummer Sean Noonan Fuses Jazz-Punk, Rock, Blues with Celtic and West African Rhythms

Sean Noonan's Brewed by Noon - Stories To    Tell
Sean Noonan’s Brewed by Noon – Stories To Tell

Sean Noonan’s Brewed by Noon project will release its new CD, Stories To Tell, on January 9, 2007. The drummer describes it as “tribal rhythms by an Irish griot. My goal is to adapt folklore in a modern jazz context, merging storytelling and folk music from bardic and griot traditions.’

The stories that Sean tells with Brewed by Noon are as diverse as the musicians he has surrounded himself with. For the project,  he expanded the core players who comprised Brewed by Noon’s first incarnation as a quartet (guitarists Aram Bajakian and Jon Madof and Senegalese bassist Thierno Camara) with the addition of downtown jazzers like guitarist Marc Ribot and Mat Maneri on viola, as well as one of his teachers, percussionist Jim Pugliese, Malian vocalist Abdoulaye Diabate (who is also a member of Peter Apfelbaum & the NY Hieroglyphics), Irish Gaelic folk/rock singer Susan McKeown, and classical and soul vocalist Dawn Padmore.

Stories to Tell features ten pieces that offer elements of blues, rock, soul, jazz and improv in various combinations, adding in Celtic and West African song-forms, lyrics, melodic content and instrumental approaches, but all transformed in the process of development. From the funky metaphoric love song to a ‘Pineapple,’ to a fable about a lost baby elephant in ‘Esspi,’ to the grinding out-rock/jazz interplay of ‘Scabies,’ to the Irish/Malian duet ‘Noonbrews,’ Stories to Tell kaleidoscopically refracts its participants’ cultures, talents and musical experiences into an ecstatic, intoxicating vision, one constantly supported by the energy and direction of Sean’s drumming.

Sean’s personal history has laid the foundation for his musical eclecticism. Born in Boston, he graduated from the Berklee College of Music and was one of the co-founders of The Hub, a trio whose punk-jazz earned them critical acclaim throughout Europe.

While touring in Italy in 2003, Sean was in a car accident that nearly cost him his life and left him with two broken legs requiring several operations over two years, anchoring him to a wheelchair for months on end. As soon as he could move his legs, he was back playing drums, this time developing a new project that blended jazz-punk with West African folk music. He got together with Thierno Camara, an old friend in whose Waaw Band he’d performed years earlier, to write some new tunes, and the resulting first Brewed by Noon CD ‘ a quartet that also featured guitarist friends Aram Bajakian and Jon Madof ‘ was released independently in 2005.

As are all Songlines releases, Stories to Tell is a hybrid SACD, creatively mixed to surround. Heard in this format, the often complex instrumental and vocal interplay stands out in great detail even as the listener is immersed in the music. Sean’s website is www.noonansmusic.com.

Buy Stories To Tell