b. Arizona, USA. Noriega began playing the alto saxophone at the age of 10 and first worked professionally in a ranchera group, Hermanos Jovel, with his four brothers. He studied formally at the University of Arizona and at Arizona State, before moving to Los Angeles and then, in 1990, to Boston where he worked with the Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra under the direction of Gunther Schuller. Noriega also worked with musicians connected with the Berklee College Of Music and the New England Conservatory, and with the Either/Orchestra and the Jazz Composers Alliance. He then moved to New York, in 1992, becoming a regular at venues such as the Knitting Factory and Birdland. He formed his own groups including a quartet and Play Party. In addition to his work as a leader, Noriega has also played as a sideman in Unit X and Sideshow. The latter is a collective dedicated to reinterpreting the music of Charles Ives. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Noriega specializes on alto saxophone and bass clarinet. His music combines cutting edge jazz with funky Latin forms, resulting in something that is simultaneously accessible and intellectually demanding. At the start of the new century, Noriega, especially when with his band, Play Party, was thus able to appeal not only to the broader audience but also to the cognoscenti.
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