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Chris Potter: The Sirens

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Wayfinder"

There is little doubt that saxophonist Chris Potter is one of the most important jazz artists of the modern era. Comfortable in a variety of jazz settings, the artist has contributed to several ECM Records-produced albums, yet The Sirens marks his leadership debut for the Germany-based label. Intense, passionate and a dazzling soloist who is a master at building tension and spiraling a given piece towards climactic pinnacles, this production focuses on Potter's holistic talent. With the ambient ECM Records recording qualities, Potter's often complex compositions are often fabricated on lyrically resplendent themes amid cresting finales and his vocal-like qualities.

Potter and his ace band turn up the heat on the intricately concocted, "Wayfinder." Odd-metrics and a swirling ostinato are the backbone for this piece. Revered pianist Craig Taborn and nascent keyboardist David Virelles, using a celeste and prepared piano, lock into a slippery groove via cascading chord clusters and polytonal treatments. Cunning and markedly off-kilter by design, Potter goes for the gusto during his rather imploding sax solo, augmented by plaintive cries, towering crescendos and one part where he mimics the previously performed piano ostinato. He realigns the band for a succession of thorny unison choruses atop the rhythm section's buoyant and dizzying undercurrent. Besides the shifting tides, dips and spikes, The Sirens looms as an astute vehicle for Potter to express his consummate artistry.

Track Listing: Wine Dark Sea; Wayfinder; Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers); The Sirens; Penelope; Kalypso; Nausikaa; Stranger at the Gate; The Shades.

Personnel: Chris Potter: soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet; Craig Taborn: piano; David Virelles: prepared piano, celeste, harmonium; Larry Grenadier: double bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Title: The Sirens | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: ECM Records

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