SEAN NOONAN WILL EMBARK ON A NINE COUNTRY EUROPEAN TOUR THIS FALL TO SUPPORT RELEASE OF IN THE RING
Drummer and Composer Noonan Will Be Joined by the Poland-based Gambler's Hand String Quartet for shows in the U.K. Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Poland, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Hungary
This October, Sean Noonan will release In the Ring, the second album in his A Gambler's Hand series. In the Ring, a series of song cycles, will be supported by an extensive European tour that will take Noonan and the four piece A Gambler's Hand String Quartet to nine countries over two months. The string quartet that will join Noonan on tour is comprised of four Polish musicians: Adam Roszkowski and Maciej Afanasjew on violins, Adam Debski on viola, and Jan Roszkowski on cello.
Just how does a Brooklyn, NY-based musician originally from Boston assemble a string quartet from Poland to bring on tour throughout Europe and the UK? “I met violinist Adam in Gorzow, Poland, when I was on tour with Brewed by Noon back in 2011,” explains Sean. “It turned out that his brother, Jan, a cellist, was studying at the Manhattan School of Music, so we met in New York and made plans to form the quartet when he returned to Poland. Jan and Adam are actively involved in the classical music world, and play in different orchestras in Belgium and Poland, so I was able to meet a lot of string musicians through them. We formed the group ‘officially’ in the fall of 2013, and we’ll record our first project together – “Skarbnik Suites,” which we’ll premiere at the EFG London Jazz Festival this year - in November in the UK.”
Noonan is enthusiastic about the collaboration. “Our concept is to take chances, explore uncharted musical territory and upend conventions. For example, the compositions force the quartet to exceed the normal threshold of how loud such an ensemble might normally play. Or I might treat them in some passages just as I would an electric guitar. The nature of this music is such that in order to perform as a single organism, the string musicians have to be unified in a very delicate way, which takes time, so I encouraged them to play together as a quartet as much as possible. Now they’re able to anticipate all movement in the music and play it as one.”
On In the Ring, the prolific drummer, composer and storyteller this time presents a collection of song cycles that together tell a story about the transformation of a man who get tickled by a sunbeam one morning on a mountain top, and who, as the story progresses, first transforms into a coyote, then into the Celtic mythological creature known as a Silkie, and eventually back into his human form. As a result of his adventures, he has lost his shadow, and the only way to get it back is to challenge it to a round of shadow boxing In the Ring.
In the Ring features an amplified string quartet, and drum kit/percussion; Noonan narrates the stories on the drum set, representing the composer's ongoing interest in treating the string quartet as an extension of the drum set. Noonan's inspirations combine the aesthetics of modern chamber music, improvised new music, storytelling, and experimentalists from the New York music scene. At any particular moment, rock grooves lock with insistent string ostinatos, which then morph into spiky counterpoint reminiscent of Bartok. Noonan narrates his tales from the drum set as if the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett was sitting behind the drums. This release will be partnered with a 50 page photo book that includes additional stories that are a continuation of those told on In the Ring.
In addition, at the EFG London Jazz Festival Noonan will premiere a new musical work, "Skarbnik Suites," that will dig deep to the depths of the salt mines of Silesia (Poland) to tell modern adapations of the stories about the Polish mythological legend Skarbnik, who is the treasurer of all mines and either punishes or protects miners from danger and possibly rewards the good ones. Noonan's thoroughly modern musical take on this myth is told in diverse styles of punked-up Mazurka to avant-garde improvised chamber music, incorporating jazz/rock, storytelling, and 20th century music styles influenced by the Polish contemporary classical composer Henryk Gorecki.
MAY 2014 NEWS
Sean Noonan Unites Music, Storytelling, and the Visual Art of Malcolm Mooney on Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night
Unique Limited Edition Print and Digital Book of Original Artwork and Poetry Available as Companion to Album from Vanguard Composer, Storyteller, and Drummer, Featuring Legendary Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Shooting-Star Guitarist Aram Bajakian with Original Can Vocalist Mooney, Will be Released on May 30 at Bowery Electric, New York