Jayson Norris
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Jayson Norris

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Artist:Jayson Norris
Album:A Basket Full...
Label:Rangiputa Records
Tracks: 12
Rating: ***
Website: www.jaysonnorris.com

"A Basket Full..." is named after a Maori tradition that there are three baskets of knowledge. This album, resplendent in basket weave effect sleeve includes that knowledge within a dozen carefully written songs
Jayson Norris is a Kiwi that is a frequent and long serving visitor to these shores and like a lot of travellers that head this way from the Southern Ocean his songs reflect travel, though not just in a physical sense. The album comes across as a voyage through both the emotions and the soul.
Norris, accompanies his words with some good uptempo rhythms that drift in and out of funk and to a lesser extent reggae, touches on the edge of acoustic soft rock and dallies with gosple and blues. If that sounds like a mish mash with no clearly defined edge, then don't be fooled it's not. Jayson keeps the whole thing in check, fuzzy around the edges yes, but absolutely focsed in the middle.
"A Basket Full..." is a very uplifting album, you get the feeling Norris was smiling all the way through the recording. Some of the credit for this must go to the band that Jayson has assembled, but they've got some pretty good material to work with. Lyrics, music mesh together to make some really enjoyable tracks that encourage you to sway and dance along with them.
It's an album of the spring and summer, light in sound, full of hope and vitility. It refreshes like a stroll on the beach on a summers day. A slight sea breeze keeps it cool when it's in danger of over heating.
It's not an album without flaws. One of them is that you can get drawn into the music at the expense of the lyric. You get just that little too laid back and suddenly find you're not listening to the words anymore. The music can swamp your desire to listen to the song, which is a shame as Jayson Norris writes a pretty good collection of words. The upside of this is that it gives you a different song for your moods. It would seem that you could either dance or go on a journey, it's not really practical to do both at the same time. In effect you get two albums for the price of one. "A Basket Full.." is bang on where it's at

- http://www.fatea.freeserve.co.uk/releases.html


By Taryn Wilson

As an antipodean living in London, it is often an odd feeling to hear sounds of home wafting out from speakers so used to belting out indie rock and Brit pop. For those who miss that unique laid-back, earthy sound of home, the smooth Pacific soul sound of London-based Kiwi Jayson Norris can be found on his new album, A Basket Full.

Already gaining plaudits from critics, the first (download-only) single from the album, Truth, is receiving airplay in the UK, New Zealand and even Italy. Norris will play live at Neighbourhood on 18 May to release the album with special guest Anika Moa before playing summer festival dates at both Toast New Zealand (alongside Hayley Westenra and Dave Dobbyn), and the Secret Garden Festival.

Originally from Kaitaia, Norris studied music in Hamilton before heading to Sydney to live. There he played regular gigs before flying back and forwards to the Maldives, where he played on and off for a year. After his contract ran out he came to London to set up home and his music career nearly three years ago. The album, mastered at Abbey Road by fellow Kiwi Kathy Bryan, is released on his own label Rangiputa Records and was quick to record.

“I started recording in December and it took 11 days, start to finish,” he said. “We’ve got a finished product which stands up next to the others on the shelf. It sounds good and looks good and we’re very happy with it.”

Making the move to London was not the easiest option for Norris, compared to going home to market the album where the local music genre of Pacific soul/roots runs riot. “It was pretty hard. The music back there is quite different to the music that is popular in London,” he admitted.

“When I arrived here I realised that where I’m from is probably an advantage. My identity and musical inspiration, musical taste and how I sound [is different]. I’ve stopped trying to sound like anyone else and accepted who I am,” Norris said. “Obviously with Kiwis already here it’s a market to tap into, but with the Brits, it’s a bit different. They warmed to Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, if they’ve heard of him. I wonder if
I tried to get into [the scene in] the States, whether they would be a lot more accepting.”

But with a British wife and one of the best music scenes in the world, London is the best place to be for now. “You can go to a gig every night of the week. Sometimes I have coffee with Kathy at Abbey Road cafeteria. Someone will be playing guitar and it’ll be David Gilmour (Pink Floyd),” Norris said excitedly. “I just went to see B.B. King – someone I’ve always wanted to see - and then you can go down the road to the Jazz Café and see [fellow Kiwi] Mark de Clive Lowe.”

Between gigs and album promotion, Norris is happy to indulge in his Kiwi roots, including passing some Kiwiana on to his wife. “I’m trying to teach her to say ‘cher bro’. She’ll get there.”



- New Zealand Times London


Discography

New single Superhero can be heard on www.jaysonnorris.com and www.myspace.com/jaysonnorris
Album " a basket full..."
All songs available on the album are available on Itunes, Cd Baby, Napster, Raphsody, etc etc and at www.jaysonnorris.com and www.myspace.com/jaysonnorris

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Bio

Combining his rich, earthy voice with a blend of soulful acoustic styles, Jayson Norris offers laid back, funk-inflected Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley inspired music. Jayson’s cultural and musical Maori heritage is subtly reflected with rootsy, South-Pacific sounds resonating throughout his songs