Composer, drummer and percussionist Kevin Norton fuses aspects of Germany’s avant-garde art and design (Bauhaus) abstractions into a modern jazz-improvisational context. Recorded at New York City’s "Tonic" venue, Norton commandeers his highly skilled quartet through a diverse program, brimming with provocative contrasts, pumping grooves and much more.
Norton occasionally introduces alternating moods via brisk and somewhat measured vibes work, in support of structured horn charts and evolving metrics. But this quartet’s polytonal musical outlook often presents a source of amazement. In spots, bassist John Lindberg’s pizzicato lines stir up an ominous presence in support of saxophonist Tony Malaby and trumpeter Dave Ballou’s multidirectional - but very much in synch - choruses.
Norton’s muse takes on an evolutionary process during lightly swinging pulses along with the hornists’ intertwining dialogues and merging of ideas. And when the musicians aren’t engaged in hot and heavy improvisational diatribes they convey a penchant for dissecting a given melody. On "Difficulty," the ensemble kicks up a storm as they interconnect an abundance of fertile notions consisting of counterbalancing themes. Hence, Norton and associates define a profound stamp of commitment, augmented with a highly motivated and irrefutably, dignified artistic statement that looms rather large. (Zealously recommended.... )