Biography

 

Guitarist-composer Sebastian Noelle has spent much of his life traveling the elusive path between two worlds. In life, he travels back and forth between his native Germany and his adopted home of New York City; in his art, he navigates the more fluid boundaries between the abstract and the emotional. Throughout that nomadic existence, music has provided a constant source of shelter, an idea that unifies the wide-ranging music on Noelle’s fourth CD.

 

On ‘System One’, Noelle leads a stellar quartet that brings together some of the most forward-thinking and limitless musicians in modern jazz: pianist Matt Mitchell (Dave Douglas, Tim Berne), bassist Chris Tordini (Chris Speed Trio, Becca Stevens), and drummer Dan Weiss (Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dave Binney). His last album ‘Shelter’, which has been called ‘rewarding’ by the New York Times and hailed for its ‘embrace of both lyrical intricacies and rockish swagger’ (Nate Chinen), 

 

The compositions on System One spotlight Noelle’s far-reaching interests, bringing together disparate musical influences, inspiration from documentary film and German literature, and his studies of North Indian rhythms.  The album’s ten compositions also manage the tricky feat of melding ambitious complexity with emotional communication.

 

His credentials since arriving in New York in 2002 include more than a decade with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (appearing on two Grammy-nominated recordings), the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop Orchestra, the Chris Potter Big Band, the Aaron Irwin Quintet, Joe Phillip’s Numinous, The Rob Garcia Quartet and the New York Jazzharmonic, and performances at 55 Bar, Cornelia Street Café, Blue Note, Jazz Gallery, Iridium, Merkin Hall, The Knitting Factory, BAM and the Jazz Standard, and at numerous prestigious jazz festivals such as Newport, North Sea, Montreux and Moers. I have toured extensively in the US, Europe, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

 

He has released four CDs on the European FreshSound-NewTalent label: “Across The River” (2006), featuring Donny McCaslin, Ben Street and Ari Hoenig, “Koan” (2011), with Loren Stillman, George Colligan, Thomson Kneeland and Tony Moreno, “Shelter” (2016) with Marc Mommaas, Matt Clohesy, Matt Mitchell and Dan Weiss and the above mentioned “System One”.

 

 

Press Quotes

“Noelle has a rewarding new album, “Shelter,” that showcases his embrace of both lyrical intricacies and rockish swagger” - Nate Chinen, New York Times

“Noelle is a shape-shifting mutant like The X-Men whose chameleon-like propensities demand precision” - Mike Greenblatt, Classicalite

“Noelle has his own angular and very modern approach that pushes jazz forward”

- S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

“handsome melodies and intelligent arrangements”

- Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“high energy, of almost religious intensity and timelessness”

- Budd Kopmann, AllAboutJazz

"warmly intimate yet unpredictable, intricate mix of enigmatic, zig-zaggy harmony, dark-hued avant jazz-rock, contemporary free bop and folk-tinged song"

- Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise (UK)

"Sebastian Noelle’s multihued electric guitar lines provide a forum for capaciously generated modern jazz iterations. The music is comprised of animated choruses, accelerated by brisk bop grooves, multidirectional unison phrasings and more. Noelle chooses his notes wisely, as he digs deep from within to articulate a string of sinuous thematic forays. [...] Noelle’s mode of execution relies on space and depth, where poignancy and a solid group-centric focus attain equal ground, to coincide with the musicians intuitive exchanges." -Glenn Astarita, ejazznews.com

 

“German-born guitarist Sebastian Noelle is part of a growing group of young musicians who stretch the boundaries of jazz rhythm. […] Noelle is a lyrical improviser who likes to drift in with a melody, dice it up with superimposed rhythms that appear to slow it down or whirl it about faster and faster, and then inch it along as the next soloist enters. […] The album is recommended for its lyricism and impressionism.” -Owen Cordle, News & Observer

 

"Music that soars, inspires, challenges, and at times even soothes with a comfortable quirkiness. Perhaps because the compositions largely have the same source of inspiration (Japan), the tracks seem to flow as a set of companion themes and glowing variations rather than a playlist showcasing divergent concepts." -Andrea Canter, jazzpolice.com

“The music that makes up Across The River has a delicate, sensual quality, romantic and full of emotions which invite rather than shout, creating an atmosphere in which one wants to spend time. […] His compositions are so strong that they invite vibrant playing, allowing the leader to be able to show how unique his accompaniment can be. When he does solo, he takes center stage by being totally unpredictable, commenting slyly on what the horns have just done. […] Highly original and brimming with inventiveness, Across The River has the power to entice, soothe and seduce the body, while engaging the mind. Recommended.” -Budd Kopman, AllAboutJazz

 

“Warm, relaxed yet energetic original compositions dominate guitarist Sebastian Noelle's inviting album Across the River . Much of that warmth and relaxation comes from Noelle's fuzzy, rich harmonies and melodies that ring out with slight reverb and distortion. […] By the time the album closes on the soulful, feel-good title track, one looks forward to hearing more from Noelle and his bandmates.” -Brian Lonergan, AllAboutJazz

 

"Some of the best recorded jazz we've heard lately is on CD from the Spanish company called Fresh Sound-New Talent. Noelle's new Across the River disc provides one such experience. This German-born guitarist, active on the NYC scene since 2002, plays in a style that may remind some of John Scofield's." -Hot House New York

 

 

discography

 

as a leader:

System One (2021, FreshSound)

Shelter (2016, FreshSound)

KOAN (2011, FreshSound)

Across The River (2006, FreshSound)

Freedom Trail (2002)

 

as a co-leader:

Moon Salutation (TBR 2014)

Anicha "Open Secrets" (2012)

w/ Gene Bertoncini "Home Is Where The Heart Wants To Go (2002)

Changes "Jazz Changes?" (2000, Jazz'n Arts)

 

as a sideman:

Dan Loomis 'Revolutions' (2021)

Jihye Lee 'Daring Mind' (2021)

Joe Phillips' Numinous 'The Grey Land' (2021)

Jon Schapiro 17 'Human Qualities' (2020)

Jon Schapiro 17 'New Shoes, Kind of Blue at 60' (2019)

Daniel Foose "Of Water And Ghosts" (2016, bjurecords)

Peter Drew "Where & When" (2016)

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society "Real Enemies" (2016, NewAmsterdam)

Aaron Irwin "Ordinary Lives" (2014, FreshSound)

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society "Brooklyn Babylon" (2013, NewAmsterdam)

Eric Erhardt "A Better Fate" (2012, Tapestry)

New York Soundpainting Orchestra "Concrete Flower" (2012, Dane)

Jeff Fairbanks' Project Hansori "Mulberry Street" (2011, BJU)

Vicious World "Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright" (2011)

Volker Goetze Orchestra "10027" (2010)

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society "Infernal Machines" (2009, NewAmsterdam)

ZAHA "Shoot The Sun" (2009, Snapback)

Joe Phillips' Numinous "Vipassana" (2008, Innova)

Rabbits Against Magic (2007)

Bari Hyman "Speak Low" (2007)