Stormin’ Norman Zamcheck is a pianist and singer/songwriter. He has been writing songs since he was old enough to pick out a tune on the keyboard and write down the lyrics on his mother’s linen napkins. During the course of his four-decade career, Norm has penned over five hundred musical compositions.
A New York transplant, Norm hales from the Boston area. He has performed in venues up and down the East and West coasts as well as internationally. In the late 70’s his band, Stormin’ Norman & Suzy, was referred to by the New York Times as the “hottest act in town, ” unleashing a deluge of media attention. Since then, Norman has played Carnegie Hall (twice); recorded for the Polydor/Polygram label; written scores for several movies and off-Broadway shows, appeared on a Dick Clark TV Special and worked as composer and music director for Pilobolous Dance Theater. He also toured with the Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra, playing to appreciative crowds in Poland, Israel and Brooklyn.
As a composer of songs, Norman Zamcheck has been praised in publications from Rolling Stone Magazine to The New York Times, which called him “exceptionally good and exceptionally original.” Early on, Norm drew writing inspiration from a rich tradition of folk music. Over the passing years he harkened to personal muses such as Mose Allison, Randy Newman and Tom Lehrer. Like them, he brilliantly fuses melody, wit, humor and irony. He sees songs in terms of “novellas” and populates his tunes with amusing characters, memorable stories and rich allusions to nature and humanity (see Music Tree page). Stormin’ Norman’s music rocks with a blues/New Orleans beat; his unique sound as a hard-driving pianist has been described as boogie woogie meets twelve tone. His primary pianistic influences include Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk and Dr. John.
To support his growing family Norm stopped performing regularly in mid-career to become an inner-city teacher and principal . Once he retired from education, he has caught up for lost time and booked himself gigs from the Shenandoah Valley in the South to the piney woods of Maine; from the Berkshires in Massachusetts to Boston; New York to Los Angeles; and across the pond in Paris. His new release, “Euphoria” blends Latin jazz with boogie and rock and roll.
The sounds of reminiscent past of smokey old piano bars laced with the happiness of yesterday we all wish we could feel again. The song “Queen of Rosebuds” really plays to a modern Broadway jazz sound that has edgy sensual notes. The song “Everything is Turning (On the Wings of Love) is a beautiful lulllaby-esque song filled with hopeful notes to create a beautiful melody. Norm does a fantastic job at creating a moving piece of music that is eclectic and yet still all speaks the same language. On this record, Norm has cultivated a pianistic style rooted in the jazz of New Orleans with shades of Latin influence. Simultaneously nostalgic, Euphoria is a totally unique sound. The album reflects the driving rhythms of the rock ensembles he toured with for years around the Northeast. Real Stormin’ Norman is an ensemble fronted by the thundering vocals of Genevieve Faivre and features a stellar group of sidemen, including rising jazz superstar Jonathan Saraga (trumpet and arrangements), Russian bass master Arthur Sadowsky and drummer Tobias Ralph, who is acclaimed as “one of the best drummers in America” by Drummers World. Real Stormin’ Norman calls New York City home and is currently touring Euphoria around the Big Apple.
Norm states “Euphoria is the perfection I’ve always wanted to do. The songs are beautiful. The singing is powerful. Tight, imaginative arrangements. This album is way more realized than the previous Real Stormin’ Norman records. We were able to perfect music that I had been working on for years.”
Listen to Euphoria here:
Additionally, Norman found time to score a long-forgotten Nicholas Ray movie that has been locked in a vault for decades called We Can’t Go Home Again. And with the urging of Ray’s widow, Susan, Norm also scored a documentary about the legendary auteur film director. Both films were screened internationally and featured several times on the Turner Cable Classic network.