Abby and Norm Group: Volume 1: The Book of Norman

Berklee professors Norman Zocher and Abigail Aronson generate an attention-grabbing debut showcasing Zocher’s provocative compositions.

Phrasing smoothly and intelligently in the tradition of John Scofield, Pat Metheny and John Abercrombie, guitarist Zocher is a fleet-fingered picker whose imaginative, non-angular licks warmly heighten 10 tracks. Aronson’s well-executed electric bass lines unify the Group sound and provide solid foundations for soloists. Pianist Bevan Manson is generously spotlighted throughout and drummer Brooke Sofferman rounds out the inventive team with his captivating rhythmic diversity. Guesting tenor saxist George Garzone nicely augments two tracks. Volume 1 is a first-rate session by a band that deserves watching.