Alex Norris grew up in Columbia, Md. where he began studying music at the age of 9. After graduating high school he received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music to study trumpet. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1990.
In 1992, Norris moved to New York City to pursue a career as a jazz trumpeter.. Here, he found work with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra, and Maria Schneider's Band. From 1994-1998, Norris was a member of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, becoming musical director in 1998; the final year of Carter's life. Norris has also performed and recorded extensively in the bands of Lonnie Plaxico, Jason Lindner, and with Ralph Irizarry's Timbalaye.