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Sean Noonan with the Suwalki String Quartet  -  Sun Nov 23, 2014  |  08:00 pm
Admission £ 8.00 ( £ 6.00 concessions)
IF the jazz world possesses a more restlessly innovative musician than Irish-American drummer Sean Noonan, weʼve yet to find him. Sean first came to Tyneside over a decade ago with jazz-punk trio The Hub, and has been back since with his African influenced group ʻBrewed by Noonʼ, a wildly eccentric duo with keyboards maverick Matthew Bourne, and with two lederhosen-clad friends in his Bavarian Trio! Then last year we welcomed him with his most ambitious project yet, a collaboration with Polandʼs Suwalki String Quartet based around Sean's story 'A Gambler's Hand'.

Even by Sean's constantly surprising standards this was a revelation, with the writing demonstrating a remarkable grasp of the tones and textures available from a string group, and the live performance delivering a dynamic interaction between the rhythmic complexity of the strings, the percussive force of the drumming, and the surreal imagery of the narration. Little wonder that a recording on the Songlines label and live performances on both sides of the Atlantic have drawn ecstatic reviews, with Critical Jazz describing it as “a dynamic and virtually faultless execution of art at an apex of creativity few can match”, while Lucid Culture called it “a category unto itself - and one of the best albums of 2012 in any style of music”. But influential American reviewer S Victor Aaron came closest to capturing the essence of Sean: “You think this might be boring? Cʼmon man, relax, this is Sean Noonan ... itʼs like nothing else out there”.

We agree. A Noonan gig is always unlike anything you've heard before, including his own previous performance . . . so when we heard that the project was back on the road with some new material, we had no hesitation in welcoming him back to Tyneside.