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Norman Hedman and Tropique: One Step Closer

Now and then, you discover or, in this instance, rediscover someone you have long since forgotten. As a percussionist, Hedman is formidable and One Step Closer should finally position him to become one of jazz’ most enduring. To be sure, his beats haven’t always been cut from the jazz cloth, but we’re long past the era when one’s total commitment to jazz and its influence is correlated.

Whether it’s the rhythmically intense “Celebration,” or “I Caught Your Smile,” which is a potpourri of calypso and shades of Earth Wind & Fire, the recording is an exciting follow-up to the group’s 1997 release of Healing Hands and again finds Hedman giving us a tour into his Latin side. And he proves to be an excellent guide.

The disc is filled with great musicianship, including a host of guest appearances, most notably by pianist Hilton Ruiz, who combined single notes with clusters that burst at the seams on “Shades of Magenta.”

Originally Published