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Chris Potter: Vertigo

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Chris Potter's quartet shares the spotlight both individually and in ensemble. The young tenor saxophonist (Potter turned 27 this year) turns in a dramatic set based on his own compositions. As Zan Stewart states in the liner notes, "... Potter stretches himself, his musicians and his audience, creating new and challenging music ..."

Working out recently in the ensembles of trumpeter Dave Douglas, bassist Dave Holland and The Mingus Big Band, Potter continues to explore the modern mainstream. Joe Lovano joins the quartet on "This Will Be," and "Modeen's Mood," and replaces Rosenwinkel on "Long Walk, Short Pier." Potter overdubs bass clarinet on "Vertigo" and "Fishy," and piano on "Act III, Scene I."

Chis Potter plays tenor with a lush fluid tone, spontaneous creative ideas, and an openly emotional lyricism. Joe Lovano has a drier tone and is recorded on the right channel, so you can easily identify the two. Working together, Potter and Lovano converse with creative near-screeches, moans and wails, and solid empathetic, sonorous phrases. Rosenwinkel's guitar spots are creative, but in the mainstream idiom. His fresh approach remains lucid and articulate, never loud or harsh, and quite similar in character to the leader's. Colley supports the ensemble accurately, according to each composition's intent. From nonchalant walking stutter-steps to vocal-like spirals, the bassist infuses a fresh voice. Likewise, Drummond's crisp press rolls and varied drumhead textures produce welcome solo scenes. Potter changes the timbre on "Wake Up" with his soprano saxophone voice. Vertigo is atenoralbum with fresh ideas from an exciting artist. Highly recommended.

Track Listing: Shiva; Vertigo; Long Walk, Short Pier; Act III, Scene I; Fishy; This Will Be; Almost Home; Modeen's Mood; Wake Up.

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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