Monday, June 25, 2007

Sean Noonan - Stories To Tell (Songlines, 2007) **

If you notice that some of today's top musicians, Marc Ribot, Jon Madof, Jim Pugliese and Mat Maneri play together on one CD with amongst others African singer Abdoulayé Diabaté, you go "wow, this is going to give fireworks!". Maybe my expectations were too high, because this is lukewarm, if not tepid stuff. The core concept of percussionist Sean Noonan is maybe too ambitious : to combine celtic and African music with rock and jazz. And indeed the album brings all these genres together in a mix, but without any real authenticity, as if every sharpness, every sting has been taken out for fear of the genres hurting each other. You would expect hypnotic rhythms, refreshing musical collisions, emotional outbursts, but there's nothing of the sort on this album, this is mellow background music for the coffee bar on the corner. Allright, admittedly, there is once in a while a soaring guitar solo, but so what? The musicians are good, and that's about all that can be said about this album.

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