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Sean Noonan & Malcolm Mooney | Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night

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Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night

by Sean Noonan & Malcolm Mooney

"Irish Griot" Sean Noonan drummer and composer brews a wide spectrum of poetry by Malcolm Mooney from his earlier years with CAN, featuring Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman's Primetime, and Aram Bajakian (Lou Reeds Last Guitarist).
Genre: Rock: Experimental Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Man On the Moon
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2. There's Always the Night
5:55 $0.99
3. Quick Pick
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4. Moonwalk
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5. No Strings Attached
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6. Portrait of a Heartless Lover
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Album Notes
Sean Noonan Unites Music, Storytelling, and the Visual Art of Malcolm Mooney on Pavees: There's Always the Night

Perhaps the best tribute to this innovative project comes from Pascal Bussy, author of the definitive biography of CAN, who lauded it as “a musical journey full of poetry and magic, designed for the most curious ears and eyes."

New Album from Vanguard Composer, Storyteller, and Drummer, Featuring Legendary Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Shooting-Star Guitarist Aram Bajakian with Original Can Vocalist Mooney,

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

Pavees Dance: There’s Always the Night, is composer, drummer, storyteller, and producer Sean Noonan's latest endeavor to cook up a distinctive brew of original compositions with a selection of lyrics by Noonan and singer, poet and visual artist Malcolm Mooney, who draws from his earlier years with Can to the present.

Noonan describes himself as an "Irish griot,’ one who collects tales, legends, and life stories over the course of his journeys and transforms them into the raw material that informs not only his drumming, but the entirety of the music he creates; as if Samuel Beckett played the drums.

Joining Noonan and Mooney are Aram Bajakian, Lou Reed's last guitarist, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, the free funk prophet/bassist from Ornette Coleman's Primetime. Noonan has joined forces with Mooney, the original singer for the late 60s /early 70’s German rock band Can, who is known for his striking vocal style, half soul, half psychedelic, which served to define the sound of what has been cited as one of the more influential experimental rock bands of all time. Since leaving the band in 1970, Mooney has primarily devoted himself to poetry, sculpture and teaching. His return to music is one of many beautiful gifts the "Irish griot" brings to listeners.

On June 3, Noonan will release Pavees Dance: There’s Always the Night, his 19th release since 1999. Featuring six tracks of inspired spoken word performances layered over and entwined amongst the band’s intricate instrumentals, the album is both an acknowledgment of the past and a bold foray into the future.

The very nature of the musicians on the Pavees Dance lineup is testament to that melding of past and present into an inventive multi-generational experience. Tacuma and Mooney still embody the spirit of unbridled creativity that marked the late 1960s and early 1970s; Noonan and Bajakian, who are two generations younger and share a common place of inspiration (both grew up in 80's in Massachusetts, listening to Mozart, Beastie Boys and Michael Jackson), in part sculpted from the rough material created by their predecessors two decades earlier.

Noonan says, “Pavees Dance in some regards is a continuation of what Can was doing, incorporating strong minimalist, psychedelic, and world music elements, but instead this album wanders towards something like Ornette Coleman’s Primetime dancing to Jimmy Hendrix dancing to Bartok dancing to Sun Ra.”

Pavees are Irish Travelers, who, throughout history, have served as transmitters of culture, music and storytelling. Similar to gypsies, the nomadic Pavees have existed in Ireland since before the fifth century. Noonan identifies with the Pavees as fellow artistic travelers whose musical journey explores the human condition and whose philosophy is based on the collection, creation and modern adaptation of poetry, music, and visual art. Known to be tinkers, Pavees are wandering craftsmen who bricolage new works from a diverse range of objects that happen to be available. That concept serves as a building point in Noonan’s overall compositional process.

“I often utilize folk traditions from around the world to create original compositions using my coined term of a ‘wandering’ folk music theory, where original compositions are communally re-created using improvisation,” he continues.

“I'm interested in folk music because it's a form of musical expression that all people can relate to and participate in. It has undergone a great deal of change because people are always tinkering with it, and changes made over the years tend to become integral to a song. Folk music is distinguished by its mix of individual composers working with the creativity of the masses. My vision is to bring musicians from diverse cultures together to explore new ideas and concepts, communally creating new vehicles of expression. I'd like to add to folk traditions by using my wandering melodies to bring together various elements, comparable or unrelated, in different cultures.”

When he first heard the music in his head, Noonan imagined Pavees dancing to unstoppable rhythms, chanting, and singing from a stream of sub-conscious mind. “Just as Pavees have done for centuries, Pavees Dance traverses a vast musical and experiential landscape, traveling far and wide to transmit the greater truths of the story at heart.” says Noonan

The story behind Pavees Dance first began in April of 2013, when Noonan visited the mystical Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland and had a vision after meeting the ‘Green Man,’ the Celtic fertility God, the beneficent spirit of vegetation, and the tree spirit. He felt a tingling static energy after standing in the tomb of the chapel, and understood that he “was supposed to go to the Moon and meet the man on the Moon.” Two months later, pianist Alex Marcelo mentioned that Mooney was coming to NY, and Noonan immediately understood that Mooney was the ‘man on the moon’ he was destined to meet and reached out to him. Their collaboration, based on their similar artistic affinity for poetry and storytelling, fell into place immediately.

Noonan began composing all the Pavees Dance pieces soon after returning from his journey and shared only song titles and general themes with Mooney, who he still had not meet. “We communicated through exchanging poems and artwork that we were inspired by. For me the compositional process was a synesthesia-like experience where this effect, along with extended metaphors, was a large part of the foundation for the intricate harmonic forms.” Noonan shaped melodies and adapted lyrics from Mooney’s poems, a different approach from how he engaged with vocalists Abdoulaye Diabate and Susan McKeown on his 2007 and 2008 Songlines releases, Stories to Tell and Boxing Dreams, where the musicians communally created or improvised their own lyrics off specific themes.

The birth of Pavees Dance took place in a 24 hour communal creation process where the band’s one rehearsal was on the day of their debut live show in New York; the next day they were in the studio. “We recorded the entire album in a single afternoon and I treated the entire recording session as a live performance only making a few takes of each song,” says Noonan.

“The sequence for Pavees Dance was conceived as a song cycle, where I choreographed the album so each movement can dance and cling with memories, characters, space and time, metaphorically traveling all around the world in a single night, resolving at dawn.” says Noonan.

On the album, Noonan is Mooney’s vocal dance partner, like a shadow, always following his lead, even at times his alter ego or his subconscious mind. Their passionate vocals are layered atop raw power-jamming jazz/rock guitars, funked and punked up drum and bass grooves, sounding as if “Andy Warhol and Animal from the Muppets and Keith Moon were out on a night of romance and in quest of a good bar fight.”

About the Band

Sean Noonan

In 1999 Sean Noonan first came to the public’s attention as the drummer of The HUB, one of several bands that emerged as the next generation of cutting edge music from the Brooklyn underground scene. Since the birth of his band Brewed by Noon, Noonan has created original musical concepts from Afro-Celtic Punk-Jazz to composing downtown avant-garde chamber music and improvising stories from his drum set.

Noonan has produced 19 albums in a diverse career featuring fine artists such as Marc Ribot, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mat Maneri, Susan McKeown and Abdoulaye Diabate, and now, Malcolm Mooney.

As a composer, drummer, producer and storyteller, Noonan is unafraid to take risks with his creative output. He has developed distinctive concepts, such as working with an amplified string quartet on his 2012 Songlines release, A Gambler’s Hand. On that album, Noonan presented his ongoing interest in treating the strings as an extension of the drum set. His inspirations combine the aesthetics of modern chamber music, improvised new music, storytelling and experimentalists ranging from Henry Cowell to John Zorn.

While A Gambler’s Hand owes much of its inspiration to the string quartet tradition of Beethoven and Bartok in particular, Noonan’s songwriting now, as it was then, is rooted in literature and folklore - ancient invocations, cautionary tales and psychedelic nightmares – collected from experience and various cultures and retold from the perspective of a 21st century Irish-American punk/jazz downtown New Yorker who’d fallen in love with storytelling and African music.

Malcolm Mooney

The original front man for the legendary experimental rock band Can, Malcolm Mooney began singing while in high school, joining an a cappella group called the Six Fifths. After gaining some renown as a New York sculptor, he set off to hitchhike around the world, and while in Paris met the four German members of the fledgling Can, joining them in 1968. He fronted the group on their 1969 debut, Monster Movie, after which he returned to the U.S., where he spent the next decades earning a considerable reputation as an artist and poet.

Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Jamaaladeen Tacuma is perhaps best known for his albums as bandleader on the Gramavision label and for his work with Ornette Coleman during the 1970s and 1980s (particularly in Coleman's Prime Time band). Jamaaladeen's 1988 album Jukebox was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Aram Bajakian

In 2001, Noonan met Aram Bajakian at Columbia University; they released a duo album, Chips. Since then, Bajakian has blossomed as a promising guitarist and has performed/recorded with rock legend Lou Reed, Grammy winners Diana Krall and Yusef Lateef, and saxophonist John Zorn.



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