149

Kevin Norton: Quark Bercuse: Solo Percussion Vol. 1

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count
Kevin Norton: Quark Bercuse: Solo Percussion Vol. 1 Solo music is perhaps the most challenging kind of all. With no place to hide, it's just the musician communicating to the listener. Percussion music presents additional challenges for both the performer and audience, since untuned instruments, like drums and cymbals, lack obvious melodic qualities and tuned instruments, like marimba and xylophone, are not inherently harmonic. But percussion instruments have a vast timbral and dynamic range with which a skilled percussionist can elicit implied melodies and harmonies and present complete musical statements, not merely a barrage of rhythm.

Such is the case in the exceptional hands of Kevin Norton, who explores his concept of "total percussion in improvised music on Quark Bercuse. Norton approaches percussion music like the accomplished composer he is, freeing the drums from their traditional timekeeping role, exploiting their capabilities to craft fully realized pieces. Each composition has purpose and shape, and the results should appeal to both drummers and non-drummers.

The bouncy single-note marimba line of "Knots is punctuated with fleet multi-note flourishes, twisting the melody. Norton allows ample time and space for vibraphone notes to resonate and decay on the nuanced "Cutting Across. With an array of drum textures, sans cymbals, on "Number Nine, Number Nine, he uses a simple repeating pattern to extrapolate from and periodically rein in the tumbling momentum of the improvisations. The title track also has a recurrent melodic marimba phrase, with taut, suspenseful movement that is heightened when he breaks the line or plays in a lower register to comp for himself.

Norton's concept is most striking on "User's Guide/Louie the Loop, fifteen-plus sprawling minutes of dynamic peaks and valleys, as he moves from marimba to drum set and back without pausing or overdubbing. Playing the drum set, he mirrors the marimba pattern on cymbal for continuity, then embellishes against the established feel, artfully blurring composition and improvisation with the tuned and untuned—total percussion music that successfully stands alone.


Track Listing: Knots; Number Nine, Number Nine; Cutting Across; Quark Bercuse; Tradition-Revision- Decision; Cold Day in May-Newspaper Article about the Dead in Iraq; Users Guide/Louie the Loop; At the Hands of Charlotte Corday; Transformed Energy; Later, Gonzo.

Personnel: Kevin Norton: drums, marimba, vibraphone, percussion.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: FMR Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Linus + Skarbø / Leroux" CD/LP/Track Review Linus + Skarbø / Leroux
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Contrasts" CD/LP/Track Review Contrasts
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!