Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Great complex modern jazz with just a touch of klezmer
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 05/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kevin Norton is one of those guys who is invisible until one day you notice his playing on a particular CD. Then you start to investigate what else he has played on and you realize he has been everywhere and playing with everybody for the last ten or twelve years.
I always pay attention to whomever plays with Anthony Braxton. One part of the greatness that is Anthony Braxton is that he is one of the greatest spotters of talent in the history of jazz. Someday I will take the time to develope that idea on the pages on Amazon but for now let's just note tha Norton has been perhaps Braxton's drummer of choice for the last ten years.
Norton has played drums and vibes for an incredible array of musicians. Besides Braxton he has played with Edward Ratliff's Rhapsodahlia (see my review of Wong Fei Hong), with Phillip Johnstone, with Fred Firth, Chris Jonas, James Emery, Steve Swell and Will Houlhauser among others. One thing that should be noted about that list is the presence of so many distinct and superb composers. Norton is obviously attracted to playing with people who will stretch his musical horizons.
The ensemble members on this CD are also worth getting to know. I first got to know David Bindman from his work on Royal Hartigan's magnificent Blood Drum Spirit (see the reviews) and on his own CD Imaginings. His is a full tenor sound that brings to mind Stanley Turrentine or Wayne Shorter. He can play hard bop or play free and does both on this CD. He also plays clarinet on three of the tunes. Bob DeBellis has played with Johnstone, Muhal Richard Abrams, the New York Composers Orchestra and Don Byron. On this CD he burns on the alto sax, the clarinet and the bass clarinet. Tomas Ulrich is developing into one of the best cellist playing in jazz and shines throughout this recording especially in conjunction with Joe Fonda's bass playing. Fonda is another Braxton disciple and has also played with Wadada Leo Smith and many others. He and Norton have teamed together on many recordings including Fonda's great Full Circle Suite on the CIMP label.
Finally there is David Krakauer on the clarinet who is the featured soloist on Three Movements for Solo and Ensemble. Krakauer is a triple threat- he is well-known as a classical player and a klezmer player as well as a jazz player.
The Three Movements are the heart of this CD. They constitute a true contribution to the jazz clarinet repretoire and Krakauer's playing is inspired. These pieces are also where the klezmer influence that I spoke of in the title are present. There are two Monk pieces (delightfully played) and then eight pieces for the quintet.
I can't really improve on the enthusiasm of the first reviewer. Listen to the samples if these guys are unfamiliar to you. If you are an old jazz nut and you know what these guys are capable of, let me just state that this CD is a highlight in all of their resumes. That should be enough."
Who is this guy!
greg taylor | 02/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, brilliant, inventive, complex, and lyrical! The originals are wonderful and the standards are great! Heard this on the radio and was transfixed! Who is this guy! I'm really glad I found out about this."