With the roots of his performance career in a church in the rural town of Raleigh, Mississippi and an educational background that includes a Music Education Degree and Master’s in Jazz Performance, Kelton Norris is, without doubt, a force to be reckoned with in the areas of both jazz performance and education. Titled Best Drummer by Washington City Paper in 2016 -an article that noted Norris’ ‘sharp ears and joyful rhythmic precision’- Norris draws from his experiences as a performer in New Orleans and Chicago, as well as influences from other noted musicians such as Chad Anderson, Ronald Carter, Fareed Haque, Thad Wilson, Victor Provost, and Tarus Mateen. Norris has appeared on stages at well noted venues such as Chicago’s Jazz Showcase and Andy’s Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Indiannapolis’ Jazz Kitchen, Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Bohemian Caverns, Blues Alley, and many other venues throughout the DC metropolitan area and midwest.
He has performed with such artists and ensembles as Joan Rivers, Sharon Clark, Jose Andre Montano, Jessica Boykin-Settles, Hamiet Bluiett, Cyrus Chestnut, Vincent Gardner, Allyn Johnson, Afro-Blue, Levon Mikaelian, Rodney Whitaker, Thad Wilson, Cristian Perez, Herman Burney Jr., Ron Blake, Victor Provost, Elijah Jamal Balbed, Shannon Gunn, and many others. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his Masters in Music from Northern Illinois University. Norris lives in the DC Metropolitan area, where he can be seen performing regularly at various music venues. In addition to teaching at Shepherd University School of Music, his teaching extends beyond his private studio as a private lessons teacher at Sidwell Friends School, Holy Trinity Episcopal School, and School of Rock.