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.
Track Listing: 1) From Another Star 2) Images Enhanced 3) Yesterday's Gardenia 4) Elysium 5) All the Things You Are 6) Sunhazed 7) New Flame 8) A Crest of Amber 9) Dark Brows 10) Tiger Rag
Personnel: Walter Norris: piano; Mike Richmond: bass
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.