Bar code: 8427328420815
Veteran New York trumpeter Alexander Norris makes his recording debut as a leader. His sideman experience is extensive - Betty Carter, Carl Allen, Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Jason Lindner Big Band, Andy Gonzalez, Us3, Steve Winwood and fellow Fresh Sound recording artist George Colligan.
His recording entitled A New Beginning features his own compositions, tunes from standard jazz repertoire and some nice surprises. The personnel on this CD are All top-notch New York based musicians: Greg Tardy (tenor sax), George Colligan (piano), Dwayne Burno (bass), Joe Strasser (drums) and special guest Claudia Acuña (vocals).
"Norris first date as a leader is indebted to the spectrum of hard bop sounds of the 50s and 60s. Within the wide parameters of this genre, the trumpeters compositions are showing signs of individuality, such as Ontology, a funk-jazz tune, which stays in the groove despite the absence of an obvious back beat. A cunning improviser who occasionally reveals the influence of Miles Davis, Norris never struggles with the instrument, and forsakes long, complicated phrases in favor of short, syncopated lines which leave plenty of space for the rhythm section to react. His front line partner, tenor saxophonist Greg Tardy provides an interesting contrast with somewhat convoluted lines which frequently turn raw and emotional.
The middle of the disc offers a change of pace with two tracks featuring the vocals of Claudia Acuna. You Go To My Head begins as a conventional ballad with Acuna singing the words in a beautifully relaxed manner and pianist George Colligan providing accompaniment that is both sensitive and, at times, daring. The band comes in, accelerates to a camelwalk tempo and, after Norris muted solo, Acuna sings the words again, so assertively that she doesnt even seem to take a breath.
Colligan (who has played with the trumpeter since middle school), bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Joe Strasser are an ideal rhythm section for Norris designs. They meet the challenges of his varied material, and contribute strong solos. In particular, regardless of the nature of the tune or the tempo, Strassers dry, precise sounding drums and cymbals constantly keep the music in the pocket."
By David A. Orthmann (All About Jazz)