Modern Drummer Magazine "Independence might be the ruling concept of this drummer/leader’s career. It defines a common relationship not only among his hands, feet, and voice, but between his art and almost everything else in drumland".
Rhythmic storyteller Sean Patrick Noonan is a modern-day sonic griot, composing and conducting with a pair of drum sticks original multi-stylistic music, fusing discoveries from harmolodic jazz-rock to avant-garde chamber music. As a drummer, his compositions serve as an extension of his limbs, mapping out polyrhythmic language on the drum set using Sensory Percussion that is later structured with collected tone rows (Alban Berg), multi-temporal rhythms (Conlon Nancarrow) and aleatoric comprovisation (John Cage, John Zorn)
It all began in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, hometown of legendary boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler - perhaps providing some explanation for the drummer’s fighting spirit. Noonan left Brockton to study Music Education at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and earned his Masters in Music Composition from the Aaron Copland Music School in Queens, NY. He spent part of those years at the Old School House Theater on Sanibel Island, Florida, backing legendary Hollywood songstress Marni Nixon – an unlikely forge for the theatricality he would later bring to his own performances.
After Berklee, Noonan settled in New York forming THE HUB, a punk-jazz trio where in 2003 a near-fatal car wreck on tour in Italy became integral to his compositional style. A commission from the American Composers Forum led to discovering the "wandering folk" theory where he collected, adapted folklore from a modern perspective Bardic (Susan McKeown) and Malian Griot traditions Abdoulaye Diabaté, with improvisation (Marc Ribot, Mat Maneri). In the spirit of traveling storytellers, the treasures he finds along the way are filtered through his distinctive vision combining the eloquence of an Irish bard, the narrative rhythms of Samuel Beckett, and the raw physicality of a street-smart boxer.
The New York Times “The drummer and composer Sean Noonan approaches postmodern jazz and world music from the same angle of self-discovery ....he manages to make his pieces speak coherently, and in a unified voice."
Combining a love for jazz and African rhythms fueled a 2008 trek to Mali gaining a first-hand experience of West African griot traditions which culminated in the multi-cultural album Boxing Dreams (Songlines Recordings), one manifestation of Noonan’s amorphous Afro-Celtic jazz-rock project Brewed By Noon, which released 5 disparate albums between 2006 and 2011 and was the subject of filmmaker Tom Asma’s documentary Being Brewed By Noon. The wandering theory is later expanded with Pavees Dance, an upcoming release on Rarenoise Records that fuses free funk pre-rap beat poetry by Malcolm Mooney, from CAN. and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman). That nomadic muse has led to a wealth of unexpected directions, resulting in the production of over 20 dynamic albums with a diverse portfolio of American, Asian, African, and European artists of all genres. Noonan’s music has been heard by thousands of listeners in over 15 countries, with over 500 performances in diverse venues and international festivals like: Bimhuis, A38, EFG London Jazz Festival, Haldern Pop Festival, Jazz Liege, Jazz Od Nowa, Sons D'Hiver MS Stubnitz Nottingham Jazzsteps Vilnius Jazz Festival Jazzclub Unterfahrt The Roulette, NY Kraakpand, Ghent. In 2016 Sant'anna Arresi Jazz Festival commissioned Noonan to premiere his Zappanation Rock Opera dedicated to Frank Zappa and Edgard Varèse, which included the Corocum Sardinian Choir and Ligeti Quartet.
"Imagine a head on collision between Swell Maps, Gong, the Residents, the Magic Band and the Modern Lovers. Freeform jazzy struts, too many notes; outrageous, dayglo sonic curlicues." Richard Foster - Louder Than War
"The commitment to overall ambience, and mystery, and dark intensity is unwavering. Has there been an album (Memorable Sticks) so nonchalantly creepy released this year? That would be hard to imagine." New York Music Daily
"The drummer and composer Sean Noonan approaches postmodern jazz and world music from the same angle of self-discovery ....he manages to make his pieces speak coherently, and in a unified voice." The New York Times
"Drummer Noonan's notion of conflating 'bardic and griot traditions' has juice. The Celtic tunes and African grooves retain their singularity, even when surrounded by flashes of fusion." The Village Voice
"You think this might be boring? C’mon man, relax, this is Sean Noonan…it’s like nothing else out there." Something Else! S. Victor Aaron
"Menacingly surreal, often assaultive, a feast for fans of dark, challenging music…it’s a category unto itself – and one of the best in any style of music. Scary Stuff from Sean Noonan." Lucid Culture
"Stories to Tell," album by drummer Sean Noon's group Brewed by Noon, is a funky feast of music .....bursting with talented musicians and interesting sounds ...." All About Jazz New York
"Noonan strikes again conducting a string quartet with his drumsticks…like Bela Bartok french kissing with John Zorn. I wonder when the man finally will get some serious recognition in Culture loving Flanders?" Rifraf (BE)-Bootsie
"The drummer is a musical terrorist at heart…well-conceived and expertly arranged and performed pieces that reveal not merely an inner logic, but an external one as well. " Thom Jurek-allmusic
"This is not the typical release but an experience. A dynamic and virtually flawless execution of art at an apex of creativity few can match." Brent Black @CriticalJazz
"Sean Noonan's A Gambler's Hand is a further step forward in his evolving blend of music and narrative." - All About Jazz
" ....he succeeds at bridging the gap during the preponderance of these fascinating arrangements, constructed upon a multicultural array of cadences. Here, jazz vernaculars and birthrights are fused into a bold and beautiful chain of musical events, often enamored with vigor and finesse." www.ejazznews.com