Alex Norris - Extension Deadline, Jan 2015
Trumpeter/composer Alex Norris, who grew up in Columbia, MD, received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1990. Two short years later found Norris taking NYC by storm, working with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra, and Maria Schneider's Band. From 1994-1998 Norris was a member of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, becoming musical director in 1998, sadly the final year of Carter's life. Norris has also performed and recorded extensively in the bands led by Lonnie Plaxico, Jason Lindner, and Ralph Irizarry. Norris has also worked with many noted jazz artists, such as Slide Hampton, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Carl Allen, John Patitucci, Mulgrew Miller, Brian Blade, and legends of the Afro-Cuban jazz scene as well, having worked with Andy and Jerry González, Manny Oquendo, Paquito D’Rivera and Chico O’Farrill. In addition to performing all over the world with his own group, Norris is currently a first-call sideman for many artists, including Ron Carter's Great Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, Alan Ferber's Big Band, Kyle Eastwood, Helen Sung, Miguel Zenon, Amina Figarova, and many other jazz and Latin jazz artists. Norris appears on over 80 CDs as a sideman; several of them for labels such as Blue Note, Verve, Impulse!, Steeplechase, and Sunnyside.
Alex Norris now proudly announces the release of his second recording as a leader, Extension Deadline, featuring The Alex Norris Organ Quartet, with long-time musical cohort George Colligan on Hammond A-100 organ; old friend, inspiration and colleague, Gary Thomas on tenor saxophone (Thomas is head of Jazz Studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where Norris is proud to be an adjunct Professor); and one of NYC's premier jazz drummers, Rudy Royston. Extension Deadline is the long-awaited, much anticipated, follow-up recording to Norris' first recording, A New Beginning.
About the music on Extension Deadline: The title track has a double meaning, as it was composed during tax filing season, during which Norris filed for an extension, and simultaneously, the trumpeter came to the conclusion that he had put off releasing his follow-up release long enough, and that if put off much longer, it may never happen. “Night Watchman” was inspired by the view at night outside Norris' Manhattan Plaza apartment. “What Happened Here?”, "is a dedication to anytime a relationship of any kind goes suddenly wrong. We are left bewildered and speechless, and we don't know what to do", said Norris. “San Jose” was composed in 2004 after performances that summer at the San Jose Jazz Festival with three Latin jazz bands that have been a deeply meaningful part of Norris' life, Manny Oquendo Y Libre, Timbalaye and Rumba Club. "One of my favorite songs is Bobby Hutcherson's classic 3⁄4 tune, 'Little B's Poem.' I thought it would sound nice at a slower tempo", explained Norris. “Where Angels Fear” was written in 2007. The title is borrowed from the poem Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope, Norris' namesake -“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” “'Optimism' is one of my favorite George Colligan originals, and I'm happy that he agreed to having it recorded on this project", said Norris. “Red Flag” has a very angular melody (you might even say alarming, hence the title!). This song is an up- tempo burner, and it features some brilliant trading with Rudy Royston. In conclusion Norris states that, "I'm very pleased with the musical story this recording tells. Thank you for listening!"