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2001 Pondering CD review by Bassically.net

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Norm Stockton: Pondering the Sushi - 06/20/01

Ponder this... the eclectic jazz phrasing of John Patitucci, the crisp, cool funk slaps of Marcus Miller, and the contemporary sounding arrangements of Brian Bromberg all meshed into a single musician that not only scores original sounding music but also arranges and produces it as well. On his debut solo recording Pondering the Sushi, bassist Norm Stockton's musical collage of ten original compositions and two skillfully penned arrangements blends the sounds of instrumental jazz, fusion, funk, latin, and pop genres. Unlike most debut releases which only contain maybe two or three compelling selections carefully placed among a collection of mediocre sounding "filler music", Pondering the Sushi is a musically sophisticated effort from beginning to end. You will not hear a weak link. From solo to small ensemble to big band type formats, I can't ever recall hearing a bassist sound so comfortable in so many different settings. Norm Stockton sounds like a veteran recording artist on this his first solo release! With a collection of four, five, and seven string fretted, fretless, and acoustic fretless basses, Stockton lays down a full palette of tone textures with his deep pocket grooving and technically proficient, blazing solo excursions. A complete track listing includes: "The Race", "Pondering the Sushi", "I'll Return For You", "Blessed", a jazzy cover of the modern day classic "Roxanne", "A Tender NAMM Moment", "14:12", "The Seven Pearls of Monterey", "Autumn in Kingston", a solo bass rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" full of slaps, taps, and lots of superchops, "Come Before Winter", and "Giovonna Marie." Also, be sure as to not accidentally skip over Stockton's hidden, untitled thirteenth track, a blistering bass/drum duet which spotlights Stockton's wicked slapping and two-handed tapping techniques. Bottom Line: Pondering the Sushi is one of the strongest debut outings that has ever come across my desk. I can only ponder as to what the follow-up to this recording will spawn.

– C. Engel

This page reproduced by the kind permission of International Institute of Bassists.

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