/ Flying High ... At the Heart of It

The Storm

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Flying High ... At the Heart of It


If we use the analogy of chemistry, the octet’s principle has a simple rule: each of the atoms of the elements attaches itself to one another to complement their valency. With this objective in mind and Sandro Norton’s musical orchestration, the octet creates the perfect chemistry for percussion instruments, guitar, violin, double-bass, cello, drums, piano, flute and vocals in its music laboratory. 

The virtuosity of eight musicians merges into a single language; a unique chemistry that flows from the stage leaving audiences spellbound. An eclectic show with a sophisticated scenic component; where dance, shadows and light accompany a unique musical experience.

Audiences are taken on a trip of the composer’s experiences; accompanying him on his trek around the world and his lifelong 

contact with various musical currents: from the classic period to modern jazz; passing through African, Celtic, Brazilian and, unmistakably, Portuguese worlds. Flying High … At the Heart of It was born out of this journey.  An album that brings together all those miles experienced by Sandro Norton – guitar flung over his shoulder – from his heart to his mind and to the handwritten notes in his pocket.  “The Storm (Overture)”, “Andaluziana Song”, “At the Heart of It”, “Eight Years”, “Side Steps”, “Night Out”, “Percussive Talk”, “Afrikando”, “Too Many Changes”, “Landing” gain a transcendent dimension on stage. The vast array of instruments reproduce the sound of the wind, a tempestuous sea, the warm African breeze, steam rising from the sidewalks of New York.  It is difficult to convey in words what it means to hear “Flying High … At the Heart of It.”  An experience of the senses all beating as one.  Pure chemistry. Perfection.

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Gary Burton Linner Notes

Flying High ...

Like you might expect in the 21st century, I met  Sandro Norton online, exploring various musical issues. As we got better acquainted, Sandro wondered if I would be interested in coming to Portugal to play with his musicians. After a year or so of working out details, I was on my way to Lisbon and Porto for a couple of very enjoyable weeks of concerts. This was one of my last touring projects before moving on to retirement, so it has remained quite memorable for me. I had already learned that Sandro Norton was the leading jazz guitarist in Portugal, and it’s probably fair to say he is also the leading jazz musician in Portgual.

For my trip to Portugal, I really got to connect with great players and discover new music. We rehearsed and prepared a mix of pieces composed by Sandro, and some by his musicians and myself. The styles of music covered a pretty big range, so it

made for very interesting performances. We played in Lisbon first, then Porto, Sandro’s home town, which soon became my home too, for my visit. The audiences for all the concerts were warm and supportive, truly enjoying the music. I liked the combination of instruments, it was especially a treat to have violin and harmonica in the group, both expertly played by Luis Trigo. One thing I noticed about a typical Sandro Norton concert, there were a lot of guest musicians included, as well as singers. That created a lot of variety, which is fun for us musicians since the setting keeps changing. And I was very impressed by the other members of Sandro’s main group: along with Luis, there was pianist Joao Salcedo, drummer Mario Barreiros, and Carlos Barreto on bass.


As for the leader and producer for all this music, it was a great pleasure to work with Sandro. I had become familiar with his guitar playing from hearing him on recordings before we met in person. Still it was a revelation to not only hear Sandro play live, but also to discover that we had a very easy time playing together. There is a magic that happens when improvising musicians find easy rapport. With Sandro, it was like we had been playing together for four or five years already, instead of for just four or five concerts. Sandro is not only quite a versatile guitarist, he also is a very prolific composer and I found his music very natural to play. These concerts were some of the easiest and most fun that I can recall.

 We had not intended on making a recording, so the final surprise was that a decent professional-quality recording from a concert was saved and now we have  “ FLYING HIGH, “ which is actually the final recording project of my career. I am pleased that it will be available for listeners around the world, and that there is now a historic documentation of my very lovely collaboration with Portugal’s best in jazz.

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