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Saxophonist presents a different jazz ‘Odyssey’

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Tuesday March 12, 2013

from The Boston Globe

Saxophonist presents a different jazz ‘Odyssey’
By Jeremy D. Goodwin

Chris Potter isn’t shy about crediting his influences — his 2001 album, “Gratitude,” comes complete with on-the-nose subtitles identifying the saxophone greats whose styles inspired each song.

But for his latest album, he reached back a bit further than Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker, choosing Homer’s “The Odyssey” as inspiration; each song takes its cue from a character or descriptive phrase in that epic poem of exile and return.

Yet “The Sirens,” released earlier this year, is no thorny thesis set to music; the Homeric conceit just offered a musical organizing principle, Potter explains on the phone from his home in New York. The compositions — airy and atmospheric, but possessed with a sense of forward motion — flowed from him over the course of two inspired weeks.

“Using these episodes of the book helped me get out of my own way, as far as not thinking in abstract musical terms. It helped me to turn a corner, to a thing that I wanted to get to anyway. Once I started writing one song about it, I could sort of see the whole thing,” he recalls. “There aren’t very many super-complicated kinds of structures in it. But hopefully each piece does have its own mood, its own kind of emotional space.”

To read the full review click here