Now in his late sixties, Walter Norris is one of the elder statesmen of the Jazz piano. It has been said that these don't grow older, they just become better, which is certainly true in Norris' case. From Another Star
is Norris' ninth CD as a leader. Here he teams up with bassist Mike Richmond to present his best recording to date. The CD contains three standards ("Yesterday's Gardenia", "All the Things You Are" and "Tiger Rag"), six originals and an original composition by a young saxophonist from Berlin, Norris' chosen place of residence since the late seventies.
On this CD Norris gives a broad overview of his mastery as a composer, arranger and performer and his command of music: rhythm, harmony and melody. For example, the opening track "From Another Star" presents a theme in 13/8 time with a melody typical for Norris. "Sunhazed", a revised version of "Enkephalins" (from Winter Rose ), makes a welcome reappearance with another Norris-typical melodic sequence. Other tracks have an impressionistic flurry or a Bach-like section. Although Norris' approach to music is intellectual, the music presented here is instantly accessible. Most of the tracks on this CD are pensive and have emotional warmth to them. The emphasis lies on interesting harmonies throughout, "All the Things You Are" is beautifully reharmonised. Yet Norris intersperses some pianistic sparkle and leaves us with the up-tempo "Tiger Rag". Last but not least Norris' bassist, Mike Richmond, deserves a few words of praise. He sensitively supports Norris, he walks (in Kern's standard and elsewhere) and solos a fine interplay. The recording quality matches this fine achievement. Recommended!
Sunburst Recordings can be found at www.walter-norris.de.