Percussionist/composer Kevin Norton’s latest production adds a little more amplitude to his stature as one of the leading thinkers and practitioners of progressive jazz. There’s a story behind Change Dance,
and Norton approaches these intersecting works via multipart segments, each marked by key focal points that highlight the various instrumentalists.
With this release, Norton enlists an impressive cast for a thematic foray founded upon sinuous movements, long rests between measures, and inventive soloing. On the opener, “Section A/Section B,” Norton (drums) and Mark Dresser (bass) build polyrhythmic frameworks that drive the horn section's accenting choruses. The musicians keenly alter their pitch and scope during many of these pieces. More importantly, a distinct sense of evolution prevails – partly thanks to trumpeter Dave Ballou’s rhythmic counterpoint to Norton’s organically-rendered timbral modeling techniques on “Trumpet/Percussion duo.” Moments later, the leader segues into a climactically paced percussion solo. But the gist of this recording resides within the variable flows and subliminal nature of the artist’s arrangements. The overall tone of this outing bespeaks magical characteristics – enriched by the musicians’ significant voices and coordinated sense of teamwork. Norton frequently abides by an orchestral methodology amid spacious environs, as he tends to bedazzle our imaginations in altogether captivating fashion. Recommended!!
Barking Hoop/Kevin Norton website