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Drummer/percussionist/composer Kevin Norton represents one of jazz's modern day pioneers. Whether performing and recording with saxophonist/composer and new music icon Anthony Braxton or engaging free jazz with serious compositional intentions, the artist has also assisted with the development of students seeking broader horizons. However, this trio-based endeavor suggests a mini collective of sorts, where everyone gets a fair shake.
The musicians propagate a huge wall of sound via their inspiring interpretations of Miles Davis' "Nardis," Monk's "I Mean You," and original compositions. On "O/R," the band surges forward with a straightforward, mid-tempo swing vamp, punctuated by saxophonist Bob Celusak's breezy choruses. Here, Norton embellishes the rhythmic developments with a series of well-placed rim shots, sweeping fills, and a fervent polyrhythmic attack, aided by bassist Andy Eulau's powerful bottom end. The band has some fun with the primary theme during the piece titled "This Loving Thing," where Norton hammers his dark ride cymbal amid peppery exchanges with Celusak. Otherwise, the musicians enrich the diversity of the program with a thoughtfully arranged, free jazz style mini suite, titled "Suite in Three Parts."
It is easily discernible that this unit conveys a festive disposition. Perhaps we can borrow a rock n' roll expression by stating that there is - a whole lot of shakin' goin on - as these musicians perpetuate a massive sound marked by their blistering interplay, turbulently executed grooves and indisputable synergy. Recommended!
Track Listing: 1.O/R 2.Nardis 3.CIMPly Da Blues 4.This Loving Thing 5.I Mean You 6.December 19,2000 (for Milt Hinton) 7.Walking the Dogma 8.Thoughts of the Iron Monkey 9.Footprints 10.Suite in Three Parts
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.