Concert Reviews

Kevin Norton and Morgan O'Hara (New York) - March 2011

Duets between musicians and visual artists are always an interesting challenge: different media occupying different senses trying to find a way to meet. A Mar. 4th meeting at Experimental Intermedia of Kevin Norton's percussion and Morgan O'Hara's pencil and paper took many different courses, only sometimes finding them meeting in the middle. Norton opened the set solo on vibes and built slowly to a kit-drum crescendo , moving physically across his 12 feet of gear and ending up kneeling before a small gong. It was only on the second piece, 15 minutes in, that O'Hara joined. Norton reduced his large setup to a single snare, playing a fast, steady meter while she matched his tempo with a pencil in each hand, her eyes focused keenly on her partner. Her intention was not to portray Norton (it was far from portraiture) but, it seemed, to translate sound into lines. It was difficult to receive as a duo, however, as Norton's was the only contribution within the audience's grasp: O'Hara's mass of graphite lines were out of the line of vision until the end of the piece. For a couple of subsequent pieces, she rectified that with a camera projecting a negative (white on black) video of her scribble-in-progress while another overlaid shots of both artists' workspaces. In a later piece she drew on a touch-sensitive pad connected to her laptop. She drew bird nests and thickets hard to imagine outside the context of their creation. But in real time they matched the patterns and energy of Norton's beautiful playing perfectly. (KG) - 4 April 2011 | THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD


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