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Not Only In That Golden Tree...

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Album Review

Kevin Norton burns with a talent that relies as much on intellect as emotion. Here he performs with a quartet, a tight unit with an unusual instrumentation of trombone, vibes, bass, and drums. The first few tracks, which suffer somewhat from diminished sound quality, were recorded live at the Knitting Factory, with the final one recorded at the The Basement in New Jersey. The results evidence Norton's interest in extended compositions that incorporate specific improvisatory strategies and provide a launching pad for the soloists. Norton is fascinated by the vicissitudes of melody in which tempos, timbre, and color are continually slightly altered. This recording might serve as an introduction for some to Japanese trombonist Masahiko Kono, who plays a prominent role as the only horn on this recording. Kono coolly eschews bop, using electronics to gently subvert sounds, even providing a faint echo on "Not Drunk, but Stunned." His somewhat static soloing sets aside harmonic subtleties in favor of explorations of sound. He is best when interacting with Norton's dense drums or Hitomi Tono'oka's flowing vibes, the latter of which gleam with joyous celebration. Tano'oka, a former student of Norton's, impresses with a strong confidence which explains why Norton — a more than competent vibist himself — laid down his vibes for this set. The late Wilber Morris and Norton formed a dynamic rhythmic duo; and the bassist is given plenty of solo space which he takes ample advantage of. The drummer and bassist are in near-perfect synch, as the rhythm section, including the vibes, sets the pace for this distinctively pleasurable, if not critical, recording.

Not Only In That Golden Tree..., Kevin Norton's Metaphor Quartet
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 01, 2003

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