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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Sean Noonan Brewed By Noon

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published October 5, 2007

Stories To Tell

Sean Noonan is ostensibly a jazz drummer, but any preconceptions that simplistic designation implies will do you no good here. Noonan and his group Brewed By Noon go wherever they please, and if that means that the torrid Malian vocalist Abdoulaye Diabate trades off with the Celtic-leaning Susan McKeown (as on “Noonbrews”), then so be it. And when the guitarists, including Downtown’s omnipresent Marc Ribot, shred it up in ear-splintering angular bursts of atonality, Noonan flailing along manically, recalling the Mahavishnu Orchestra or a particularly challenging 1970s Ornette Coleman or Frank Zappa LP, Stories To Tell moves into its own indeterminate space. There’s a softer/ gentler side too, evidenced by the sweet viola of Mat Maneri and the cabaret-informed vocals of Dawn Padmore (“Pineapple”). But it’s a funky softer/gentler, the aggression that characterizes the sicker parts of the album never far from grabbing hold again and stealing away any pretense toward tameness or order.