Kevin Norton: In Context/Out of Context

On In Context/Out of Context, Norton deftly balances the loose-limbed blowing imperatives of a trio session and his considerable compositional skills with a flexible album-length sequence of pieces. To this end, Norton has wisely engaged David Bindman and Bob DeBellis, whose saxophones and flutes have provided much of the muscle for his exceptional midsized ensemble. Their close rapport enables repeated smooth gear changes between rigorous thematic materials, hard-swinging blowing sections and contemplative statements for Norton’s vibraphone, both solo and in tandem with flutes. It is from the double-take inducing juxtaposition of challenging compositional contours and two “Cherokee”-based romps (which reveal Bindman and Debellis as cogent neotough tenors and Norton as a potent postmodern bombardier) that the album takes its name, a pungent commentary on present-day creative music political correctness.