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Walter Norris

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Walter Norris

Walter Norris (December 27, 1931 – October 29, 2011) was an American pianist and composer.[1]

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Early life & career 1.1
    • Later career 1.2
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • As sideman 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Biography

Early life & career

Born in Mose Allison, then did a two-year tour in the US Air Force. After his time in the Air Force, Norris played with Jimmy Ford in Houston, Texas, then moved to Los Angeles where he became an integral part of the West Coast Jazz scene. While in Los Angeles, he played on Jack Sheldon's first album and on Ornette Coleman's first album, Something Else! The Music of Ornette Coleman (1958) for Contemporary Records.

In 1960, Norris relocated to New York City and formed a trio with guitarist George Mraz, titled Drifting.

Returning to the states, Norris joined the Charles Mingus Quintet in 1976. In the dressing room prior to a performance, according to Norris, he made the mistake of calling the temperamental Mingus "Charlie" instead of "Charles," which angered Mingus. At that moment, the stage manager entered the room and told the musicians they were needed onstage immediately, which provided a temporary escape from confrontation. Norris quit the band and accepted a job in Berlin, Germany, as pianist with the Sender Freies Berlin-Orchestra. He moved to Berlin in January 1977 and lived there from that point. He insisted that his fear of Mingus was the primary cause of the move to Europe.

Later career

In 1990, Norris signed a five-album contract with Maybeck Recital Hall solo piano album. In 1998, without a record contract, Norris self-financed the album From Another Star, made in New York with bassist Mike Richmond, pressing 1,000 copies.

A documentary film directed by Chuck Dodson, Walter Norris, a documentary, was completed in 2010.[2] In 2005 an autobiography, "In Search of Musical Perfection" and method book "Essentials for Pianist Improvisers" were released. In July 2006, Norris recorded at his home in Berlin with Los Angeles bassist Putter Smith.

He died on October 29, 2011 at his home in Berlin, Germany, and is survived by his wife, Kirsten. His other descendants were two daughters from his previous marriage to Mandy, Dinah and Delia (deceased), and two granddaughters, Emily and Holly.

Discography

As leader

As sideman

WIth The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra

With Ornette Coleman

References

  1. ^ Ottawa Citizen
  2. ^ All About Jazzbiography at

External links

  • Walter Norris' own website
  • Documentary film about Walter Norris.
  • http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2928
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