149

Kevin Norton: Quark Bercuse: Solo Percussion Vol. 1

By

Sign in to view read count
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; User

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

Title: Quark Bercuse: Solo Percussion Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: FMR Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Avalon
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Troy Collins
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Malnoia" CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Small World" CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.