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The Dream Catcher (for Wilber Morris) by Kevin Norton Quintet

The great modern jazz bassist Wilber Morris was scheduled to perform on this date. Sadly, he passed away in August 2002. To that end, the quartet plays with the utmost assurance and concentration, befitting more of a celebratory jubilee, instead of opting for low-key memoriam type tribute. And while some of these works might be considered stoic and contrasting in nature, this set features a surfeit of radiant choruses and briskly executed exchanges. Norton toggles between drums and vibes as the group swings hard on many occasions, amid the bandleader’s complexly arranged compositions, augmented by the soloists' disparate tonal practices. They explore military style march beats, while cellist Tomas Ulrich and bassist Hill Greene’s lower register movements provide a booming, and at times, enigmatic demeanor throughout. Essentially, the musicians waste little time deconstructing themes. On the flip side, I had to crank the volume up on my stereo system, due to the rather blasé sonic characteristics, where subtle dynamics often get lost in the mix. In sum, Norton is a consummate technician and a shrewd composer who seemingly enjoys pushing the envelope, while concurrently challenging the listeners’ psyche. Recommended....

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Kevin Norton Quintet
  • CD Title: The Dream Catcher (for Wilber Morris)
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: CIMP
  • Tracks: Translator, The Dream Catcher, Confluence, Resolved, The Archer, Night Light, That Story About FREEDOM, Conversion Factor, Paradigm Shift, P.C.O.P., Melancholy
  • Musicians: Kevin Norton (drums, vibes), Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Hill Greene (bass)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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