Out Now! Pavees Dance "Slide Gate": An Epic Journey of Transformation and Conflict Through Experimental Jazz Rock

Drummer and composer Sean Noonan, celebrated as a 'Rhythmic Storyteller,' unveils his latest release, "Slide Gate," marking the third installment from the jazz-rock ensemble Pavees Dance. Leading the way into "Slide Gate," Noonan is joined by the original Can vocalist, Malcolm Mooney, the legendary bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman's Prime Time), and the guitarist Ava Mendoza (Unnatural Ways).

"Slide Gate" embarks on a storytelling adventure, revolving around an Android's quest to reclaim its humanity, guided by the mysterious Slide Gate. Within this mystical realm, the Android confronts an illusion of its human past, symbolizing a sanctuary of self-discovery.

Key Album Credits:

  • Drummer, vocals, composer: Sean Noonan
  • Vocalist, lyricist, visual artist: Malcolm Mooney
  • Bassist: Jamaaladeen Tacuma
  • Guitarist: Ava Mendoza
  • Songwriter: Guenter Janovsky

As the narrative unfolds, a profound conflict surfaces between the Android and the Human, embodied by characters like Accabadora (Death) and the Holy Goat (Life). It's a journey akin to navigating the proverbial "Devil in the Deep Blue Sea," culminating in a dramatic confrontation. Accabadora and the Holy Goat vie for control over the Android's destiny, while the Android strives to return to its original human state.

The pivotal moment arrives as the Android emerges from the portal, undergoing a profound transformation with the triumph of the Holy Goat over Accabadora. The Android enters a secret valley, experiencing a rebirth that returns it to its human origins. Subsequently, the Human embarks on a journey back to the Slide Gate, completing a full circle of self-discovery and transformation.

Meet the Visionaries Behind "Slide Gate"

This collaboration within Pavees Dance serves as a bridge between generations, where experimental pioneers Mooney and Tacuma pass the torch to their innovative counterparts. "Slide Gate" stands as the electrifying outcome of this convergence, co-produced with the Bavarian songwriter Guenter Janovsky, who is credited for compositions, song titles, and the album title. "Slide Gate" masterfully weaves a captivating narrative of self-discovery, conflict, and ultimate transformation, all brought to life through the musical artistry of Sean Noonan and Guenter Janovsky.

Noonan's Sonic Wanderlust

Sean Noonan, not just a drummer but a composer and "Rhythmic Storyteller," defies categorization through his unique musical expressions. His compositions merge voice and drum kit, providing a 'fifth limb' to contemporary four-limbed drumming, blending the roles of the drummer and the narrator into one cohesive unit.

With a prolific career spanning over 30 albums, Noonan showcases his versatility by venturing across diverse genres, from rock opera to jazz-rock. In 2016, he was commissioned for the Zappanation Rock Opera, and released "Tan Man's Hat" by Pavees Dance on Rarenoise Records. In 2022 we saw the release of "Knott Tones" and "Zappanation." In April 2022, Noonan embarked on a six-concert tour with the Ligeti Quartet for the UK premiere of "Bartalk," a cross-genre monodrama delving into the psychological effects of solitary confinement which will be released as a live double album this year.


Digital Release:

  1. Android - 7:37
  2. Slide Gate - 6:11
  3. Safe Space - 3:24
  4. We Will Take Our Minds Back - 10:48
  5. Holy Goat - 10:26
  6. Accabadora - 6:12
  7. Illusion - 6:40
  8. Secret Valley - 6:25
  9. We're Younger Now - 4:00
  10. Slide Gate part 2 - 2:07

Vinyl Release:

  • Android - 7:37
  • Slide Gate - 6:11
  • Safe Space - 3:24
  • Accabadora - 6:12
  • We Will Take Our Minds Back - 10:48
  • Illusion - 6:40
  • We're Younger Now - 4:00

Recording Details:

Recorded on August 20, 2022, at Atlantic Sound Studio, Brooklyn, NY Engineer: Diko Shoturma Mixing: Michal Kupicz Producers: Sean Noonan and Guenter Janovsky All lyrics sung by Malcolm Mooney are by Malcolm Mooney. Lyrics sung by Sean Noonan on tracks 5,9 are by Guenter Janovsky. Music by Sean Noonan on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 Music by Sean Noonan and Guenter Janovsky on tracks 2, 5, 7 Album title and song titles by Guenter Janovsky on tracks 1, 5, 7, 8, 9 Design by Matthias Gleixner

SEAN NOONAN'S PAVEES DANCE concert reviews from FIMAV Jazz Festival, Canada on May 20, 2022
« Tan Man's Hat »


« La guitariste électrique Ava Mendoza – époustouflante ! — et nul autre que Malcom Mooney, chanteur original du groupe rock kosmiche CAN qui, passé ses 75 ans, possède toujours une voix fringante. Noonan joue autant la batterie que le chef d’orchestre, chante volontairement faux et fait des blagues tout au long de ce concert qui a démoli l’image austère que le grand public pourrait se faire des musiques actuelles. » RENAUD, Philippe. « Le Devoir », 21 mai 2022

“Over-the-top, for sure, but Noonan’s show hit home with a crowd that trooped out all smiles.” BLOCK, Irwin. « Avant Music News », 22 mai 2022

“With his joyful, endlessly energetic and genre-crossing approach to drumming, he was clearly bursting with glee as he directed the towering bass monolith Tacuma into the realms of quasi-metal overdrive. It was a truly cosmic and poetic experience, punctuated by no small amount of onstage merch promotion, tongue mostly in cheek.” HILL, Eric. « Exclaim! », May 24, 2022

“The energy level was often on the top and infectious with the quartet often playing those difficult twists and turns with ease.” GALLANTER, Bruce. « Downtown Music Gallery », June 6, 2022

 "Tan Man's Hat" album release March 29, 2019 on RareNoise Records!

“...clever, tuneful and celebratory - and more often than not, it just plain rocks." Time Out New York

“a musical journey full of poetry and magic, designed for the most curious ears and eyes." Pascal Bussy, author of the definitive biography of Can


Order Limited Edition Vinyl + Download plus bonus tracks HERE


Sean Noonan Pavees Dance

A drummer and composer whose music enthusiastically defies category, Sean Noonan prefers the title “Rhythmic Storyteller” – an apt description for a modern-day sonic griot who spins imaginative yarns in the ancient tradition of wandering minstrels while weaving captivating narrative tapestries via his unique polyrhythmic language. On Tan Man’s
A drummer and composer whose music enthusiastically defies category, Sean Noonan prefers the title “Rhythmic Storyteller” – an apt description for a modern-day sonic griot who spins imaginative yarns in the ancient tradition of wandering minstrels while weaving captivating narrative tapestries via his unique polyrhythmic language. On Tan Man’s Hat, the second release by his harmolodic jazz-rock ensemble Pavees Dance, Noonan draws inspiration from the soul to the stars with his stunningly adventurous collaborators: original Can vocalist Malcolm Mooney, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time), guitarist Ava Mendoza (Unnatural Ways) and keyboardist Alex Marcelo (Yusef Lateef).

Tan Man’s Hat confronts the listener with a vibrant, shocking swirl of sound, a dauntless tempest of varied influences: prog rock and avant-garde classical create sparks from clashes with harmolodic improvisation and African folk traditions, with jolting infusions of psychedelia and campfire tales. The band also thrives on its blend of generations, with experimental elders Mooney and Tacuma passing a still-blazing torch to their cutting-edge compatriots.

While Noonan’s “wandering folk” approach to collecting the stories of diverse cultural traditions spans the globe, the name of Pavees Dance is rooted in his own Irish heritage. Pavees are members of the Emerald Isle’s nomadic ethnic minority, traditionally occupied as traveling tinkers and craftsmen, skilled at crafting items from available materials – a gift shared by Noonan, whose distinctive compositions are a patchwork of eclectic inspirations made new and vital in his deft hands.

“Pavees is the Irish word for a traveling musician and tinker, a sort of gypsy who collects and creates things,” Noonan explains. “That fits in perfectly with the wandering storyteller concept I’ve been developing throughout my work, merging West African and Irish storytelling traditions. The name Pavees Dance really embodies that.”

The music of Pavees Dance is enlivened by the inventive lyrics of singer, poet and visual artist Malcolm Mooney, founding vocalist for the iconic krautrock band Can. In collaboration with Noonan, he works with lyrics the way that a jazz musician uses their instrument, using written material as a leaping-off point for improvisatory flights. “Malcolm develops or adapts lyrics on the spot,” Noonan explains. “I gave him a road map for each of the songs and then let him do his thing. He shaped his own stories from the ideas that I gave him, which was a really meaningful way for me to develop as a lyricist and to evolve myself artistically.”

In essence, Mooney’s spontaneous approach to reinventing his own lyrics has strong parallels with Ornette Coleman’s ground-breaking harmolodic system, which bass virtuoso Jamaaladeen Tacuma knows first-hand from his time in the legendary saxophonist’s electric Prime Time band. “Being a drummer, the bass player is like my dance partner,” Noonan says. “This music is heavily based on the drum and bass relationship, so Jamaaladeen’s voice is a dominant aspect in my instrumental writing, which is always heavily influence by harmolodic theory.”

There’s Always the Night, Pavees Dance’s 2014 debut release, featured a quartet version of the band featuring Mooney, Tacuma, and guitarist Aram Bajakian. The latter’s relocation to Vancouver allowed for a reimagining of the band, with California experimentalist Ava Mendoza (who has worked with the likes of Nels Cline, Fred Frith, Mike Watt and Ikue Mori) to take over on guitar while Marcelo, a longtime collaborator dating back to Noonan’s notorious punk/jazz band The HUB, to expand the sound with his singular approach to the keyboards.

“I really wanted to keep the element of electric guitar in the music, because the loudness and the extremeness of what you can do with that instrument really fits Malcolm’s voice,” Noonan says. “But I was writing these intricate through-composed works using tone rows and concepts like that, so adding Alex allowed me to include the elaborate countermelodies and harmonies that I was hearing in my head.”

The complexity of the music becomes a vibrant setting for the far-reaching stories told throughout Tan Man’s Hat. The album opens with “Boldly Going,” which takes the aspirational opening message from Star Trek to envision a journey beyond the stars on Starship Earth, an alluring vision given the increasingly tumultuous nature of life on the home planet.

Science fiction has always provided a fertile ground for address real-life issues by way of fantastical metaphors. Sharing that aspect with “Boldly Going,” “Martian Refugee” takes on the idea of how to welcome outsiders via an interplanetary twist, accompanied by a playfully skewed angular groove. While Noonan has never viewed his work as a vehicle for “protest music,” the addition of Mooney added a healthy dose of socio-political commentary to the heady mix.

“You can never really escape from the things that are going on in the environment around you,” Noonan allows. “I would often try to ignore those things in my music; I wanted to take people’s minds off the reality of what’s happening in the world and away from the divisions that separate us. For this project, though, it made sense to explore that territory for the first time. Malcolm is an African-American who came up in the 1960s and ‘70s, and he has very outspoken positions about equality and discrimination. Being blunt and saying exactly how he feels is just something that comes naturally to him.”

“Tell Me” expresses that bluntness with an invigorating urgency, with Mooney spitting acid-tinged rebuttals to political and media falsehoods and the military-industrial complex over a full-throttle pulse. Not every song has such hot-button origins, however. The churning rock aggression of “Girl from Another World” offers a more straightforward alien encounter tale, while the playful “Turn Me Over” is a slice of avant-garde vaudeville, a fairy story about a genie unleashed from the grooves of a vinyl record.

The ferocious “Gravity and the Grave” is a true collaboration between the two lyricists’ minds, with Mooney taking a song Noonan penned about the grave and adding the notion of gravity, providing a tension between the rarefied air of dreams and the grounding fatality of death. A similar acceptance of the cyclical nature of existence lies at the heart of the serrated musings of “The End of the Inevitable.” Co-written with Günter Janovsky (as is “Girl from Another World”), “Winter Inside” closes the album on a note of romantic melancholy, filled with vivid imagery more evocative than explanatory.

Where the bulk of Tan Man’s Hat consists of freshly-written lyrics, the words to the title song actually date back nearly a half century to Mooney’s time in Can. The band recorded a demo version of the song at that time, but it’s never been released; Noonan composed new music, transforming the piece into a wistful, gradually accelerating ramshackle blues.

Sean Noonan first came to the public’s attention as the drummer of the punk/jazz trio The HUB in the late ‘90s, quickly integrating himself into the famed Knitting Factory scene. His path was diverted four years later when a near-fatal car wreck in Italy led to a long period of recovery and a dedication to combining his two musical loves: jazz and African rhythms. The ensuing sonic wanderlust fueled a 2008 trek to Bamako, Mali, to gain a first-hand experience of West African griot traditions alongside Malian singer/guitarist Abdoulaye Diabaté. That trip culminated in the multi-cultural album Boxing Dreams, one manifestation of Noonan’s amorphous Afro-Celtic project Brewed By Noon.

The treasures that he finds along the paths of his story-collecting travels are filtered through his distinctive vision to become the unpredictable and far-ranging sounds of Noonan’s wide-spectrum music, which combines the eloquence of an Irish bard, the narrative rhythms of Samuel Beckett, and the raw physicality of a street-smart boxer.

That nomadic muse has led Noonan in a wealth of unexpected directions, resulting in an explosion of dynamic releases and projects spanning more than 20 albums, most recently on The Aqua Diva, the latest manifestation of the jazz-meets-Scheherazade fantasies created by his trio Memorable Sticks. In 2018, he premiered his 13-piece Rock Opera Zappanation, at the International Festival "Ai Confini tra Sardegna e Jazz" in Sardinia. The piece, dedicated to Frank Zappa and Edgard Varèse, reflects Noonan’s affinity for two composers who share his tendencies toward absurdist humor and baffling rhythmic complexities.
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