Alex Norris

A New Beginning

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Latin jazz specialist and session player Alex Norris kicks back with a quintet on this satisfying release. Switching between trumpet and flügelhorn, Norris is joined by tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy, pianist George Colligan, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Joe Strasser. Vocalist Claudia Acuña makes a stunning guest appearance on "You Go to My Head," and also contributes wordless vocals and a scat chorus to an Avi Lebovich arrangement of Yoni Rechtor's "Ze Kol Ma Sheyesh." There's more than a hint of Blue Note-era Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard in Norris' originals, particularly "New Beginning," "Night Bus," and "Good Addiction." Norris alters the quintet vibe with a beautiful trio version of Thelonious Monk's "Ugly Beauty" and a quartet reading (sans Tardy) of his mellow even-eighth piece "Sympathy." This compelling album ought to bring Norris, not to mention his sidemen and women, some well-deserved attention.

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