Sound 'The Sirens': Chris Potter's ECM Debut (2013)

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Monday September 03, 2012


By:Andrea Canter

Saxophonist Chris Potter has a thick resume dating back to his first gig in 1989 with Red Rodney, including his selection as the youngest winner of the Danish Jazzpar Prize, releasing 19 albums as leader, and playing with such stars as Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Ray Brown, John Scofield, Dave Douglas, Steve Swallow, Jason Moran, Steely Dan and the Mingus Big Band. He’s led his own ensembles including the electrifying Underground and was a member of Dave Holland’s famed Quintet and Big Band. Sirens is Potter’s first effort as leader for ECM, and he spared nothing in securing sympathetic cohorts’“Craig Taborn (piano), David Virelles (prepared piano, celeste and harmonium), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).

The Sirens is an unusual project for Potter, a wordless song cycle inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey. ‘I came up with all the music in about two weeks, writing with a theme in mind,’ Potter explains. ‘I’d re-read The Odyssey after many years and was inspired to write music with that epic, mythic mood in mind. The Odyssey is all about the big themes set in bold relief ‘” romantic adventure and a return to home, temptation and identity, life and death‘¦ things we all deal with today. The stories are ancient, but human emotions never change.’ All but one of the ‘stories’ is from Potter; the final track is a free improvisation credited to the two pianists, Taborn and Virelles.

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