Kevin Norton was born in Brooklynand raised in Staten Island, NY. Studies at Hunter Collegeintroduced Kevin to Milt Hintonand after a short period, Kevin began to perform with Milt Hinton, eventually recording The Judge's Decisionwith a quartet led by Milt. After getting his Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music, he became very active as a percussionist in New York, especially taking part in the blossoming downtown New York Cityscene. This lead to him playing with Fred Frith's bandKeep the Dog,which also included harpist Zeena Parkins and saxophonist John Zorn. However, he longed to return to his jazz roots and began to play with downtown outsiders Phillip Johnstonand Joel Forrester and their co-led band, the Microscopic Septet (and later Johnston's Big Trouble, with two CDs on Black Saint). Too numerous to list here: Kevin played with many musicians on the downtown scene but eventually concentrated on his own compositions and own ensembles For Guy Debord (in nine events)is a composition for quintet and woodwind soloist (originally Anthony Braxton) based on the texts of the radical French philosopher whose thought proved central to the riots of Paris, 1968. Change Dance (Troubled Energy) draws its inspiration from another radical political activist, Kathy Change (born Kathleen Chang). Both suites are approximately an hour in duration.In 2006 Mr. Norton premiered Water and Fire Suite, commissioned as part of the national series of works from Meet The Composer Commissioning Music/USA. He has led and/or co-led about 20 critically acclaimed recordings, many of them making year-end "Best of" lists. His recording, Time-Space Modulator,integrates intricate, notated composition work with the deep improvisatory skills of Kevin, Tony Malaby, Dave Ballou andJohn Lindberg. Nortonhas also played with many highly esteemed European improviserssuch as Paul Rogers, Joëlle Léandre, John Tilbury, Paul Dunmall and Frode Gjerstad. (Gjerstad and Norton formed TiPPLE with guitarist David Watson: a cooperative, free improvising trio that has released 3 CDs as of 2015) For about ten years, Mr. Nortonwas Anthony Braxton's main percussionist in both the "ghost trance" phase and the "standards"phase, plotting out the course for all percussionists who followed him. Other great American masters Kevin has performed and/or recorded with include John Lindberg, Connie Crothers, James Emery, Scott Robinson, Nick Didkovsky, Steve LaSpina, Marshall Allen, Kazzrie Jaxen, Peter Zummo, Henry Grimes and poet/activistJohn Sinclair. In June of 2002, Kevin Nortonwas a resident composer at the prestigious MacDowell Colony. Norton worked closely with composer Pat Irwin on the animated television show, Roco’s Modern Lifefor the Nickelodeon network (approximately 1993-1996). Norton composed the original soundtrack for the movie Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words(2013).Recent recordings include John Zorn's Nosferatu (2012),Tipple's No Sugar on Anything (2014),John Lindberg's BC3 Born in an Urban Ruin (2016),Kevin Norton's Breakfast of Champignon(s) Staten Island: All that is solid melts into air (2017)
He has served on the faculty of several schools including the University of Marylandand is currently on the faculty of William Paterson University (Jazz Studies Program).