Selected Press Clips



" of the most valuable moving parts of downtown jazz." The New York Times

"Kevin Norton continues to emerge as a stand-out of the avant-garde as both a drummer and as a composer." Modern Drummer

" of America's most versatile and creative percussionist-composers" Jazzwise

"(his) awareness of musical history is what makes him such an exciting player" Jazz Review

"In his writing and playing Norton displays much subtlety, imagination and originality" JazzTimes

“In his writing and playing Norton displays much subtlety, imagination and originality. He’s got a direction and hopefully will continue to expand what have been his impressive accomplishments to date” – Harvey Pekar, Jazz Times [review of the recording, “For Guy Debord (in nine events)”

“With ‘For Guy Debord’, Kevin Norton hasn’t just delivered a stunningly coherent piece of advanced jazz, he’s also proved that music can embody ideas and polemic: the case for social revolution as a sensual experience.” – Ben Watson, The Wire

“Kevin Norton continues to emerge as a stand-out of the avant-garde as both a drummer and as a composer. KNOTS (Music & Arts Programs of America, ‘four and a half stars’) recorded with his own ensemble, proves the drummer has quite a bit to offer in the way of original compositional concepts and approaches. Most remarkably, everything on KNOTS feels great (something missing on much music of this type), even while the tempos and feels are constantly bending or altogether “out”. Mr. Norton may not be “underground” for very much longer.” – Ted Bonar, Modern Drummer

“Drummer Kevin Norton takes jazz into bold new areas of expression … by blurring the lines between two serious arts, Norton and his trio have made a record that stands in a league of it’s own. Inventive, colorful, brilliant.” – Bill Ellis, Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee.

“… Kevin Norton is a percussionist of great imagination …” – Robert Spencer, Cadence [on Edward Ratliff’s Rhapsodalia – Wong Fei-Hong Meets Little Strudel ] “ … impeccable drum, marimba and glock work” – John Corbett, Downbeat [on Phillip Johnston’s Big Trouble]

“Mr. Norton, a drummer and vibraphonist, is one of the most valuable moving parts of downtown jazz and this sextet does justice to his brainy, tricky compositions with their built-in patches of swing.” – Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“During his solos, Mr. Norton moved through jazz drum styles, quoting from Max Roach and Elvin Jones and others, and at its best the group had a real tension to it, where the improvisations unfolded like chapters in a particularly good book.” – Peter Watrous, The New York Times [concert review of Kevin Norton, George Cartwright & Mark Dresser]

“Kevin Norton is, as usual, Mr. Rhythm, fashioning great crashes of propulsive percussion like that of Kenny Clarke (and Milford Graves!) – Mark Keresman,

“… rewarding passages of syncopation from Norton …” Ben Ratliff, Village Voice

“As a percussionist, Norton is clearly very much at home in this idiom. Mostly playing the drumset, he also performs on marimba and other percussion instruments. He is a very musical player and is particularly adept at controlling dynamics. When the group does break into a more traditional straight-ahead swing feel , he is able to swing with authority.” – Tom Morgan, Percussive Notes (The Percussive Arts Society magazine) [review of Integrated Variables]

“From minute-long miniatures to 10 minute explorations, all are filled with spontaneous energy and exuberance. Norton’s percussion lays the foundation here. Whether showering chattering percussive volleys from his kit, or layering circling patterns from his marimba, his limber free swing imbues the music with an open pulse.” - Michael Rosenstein, Cadence [on Integrated Variables]

“Kevin Norton is the personification of ‘talent deserving wider recognition.’ This recording [KNOTS] is truly innovative – a melding together of eclectic styles that include wonderfully inventive composition and great improvisation by players who are comfortable in traditional jazz, free jazz, and contemporary styles. The writing is so spontaneous and the improvisation so compelling, it is often hard to tell where the composed sections end and the improvisation begins. Norton’s drumming is nothing short of remarkable. His command of phrase and nuance is impressive. He is a driving forces, but never intrudes. He plays the way one would expect a composer to play the drums, treating the instrument as an orchestra in itself.” – Tom Morgan, Percussive Notes [review of KNOTS]

“Percussionist Norton is subdued, but effective, launching a tasteful array of colors …” – Cadence [from a review of Anthony Braxton’s SEXTET(Istanbul) 1996]

“Norton provides a rich palette of backgrounds and accents to the procession. “No. 183” [Anthony Braxton composition] provides a variation in tempo, and gives Norton a chance to shine on the vibes and glockenspiel.” “When Norton shifts from various percussions to his drumkit, he provides some marvelous counterpoint and polyrhythms.” Jason Bivins, Cadence [from a review of Anthony Braxton’s CDs, Four Compositions Quartet 1995 and Octet (New York) 1995]

“Thankfully, his drumming is anything but the pretentious wankery often associated with this style. Norton’s groove is positively snappy, even on the mid-tempo pieces, and he’s aggressive, manic, in-tempo, flashy, sensitive, and supportive all at the same time.” – Ted Bonar, Modern Drummer.

Renowned percussionist and composer Kevin Norton has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians — from Anthony Braxton and David Krakauer to Milt Hinton and Fred Frith. His compositions are featured on a number of recordings, both with his own as well as other ensembles. Click here for information on releases from Barking Hoop, a label dedicated to releasing new and original music.