Not Only in that Golden Tree…

COMPOSERS: Kevin Norton’s Metaphor Quartet
LABELS: Clean Feed
PERFORMER: Kevin Norton’s Metaphor Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CF 011

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Equally absorbing, is KEVIN NORTON’s Not Only in that Golden Tree…, a quartet record drawn from two live gigs.

The Metaphor Quartet features Masahiko Kono on trombone and Hitomi Tono’oka on vibes, with bassist Wilber Morris partnering Norton’s drums. The leader has essayed some complex and intimately structured sets in the past, but this one – aside from the stealthy final track – is much more open-ended and loose-limbed in the way it sets about its business.

Norton reveals himself as a swinging drummer almost in an Elvin Jones tradition, and the grooves he sets up with Morris are catnip for Kono and Tono’oka to revel in. One mistaken notion about jazz is that it always has to be pushing forward, always breaking new ground.

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It is actually rare for any established musician to do any such thing: having become themselves, they can’t break away from a mastered delivery, and why should they? But that doesn’t mean the music is without merit, or even surprise.