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Chris Potter: Gratitude

Jim Santella By

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With a like-minded quartet from jazz's mainstream, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter pays homage to saxophone masters John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Eddie Harris, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and Ornette Coleman. Most are Potter's compositions. Thirty-year-old Potter has also penned one composition for past masters, as well as one for the current generation. It's a fresh tribute album that steers close enough to each artist's saxophone style without imitating. Potter's star is rising, and his individual take on each piece offers substantial proof.

The leader's tribute to Sonny Rollins, based on a general "St. Thomas" mood, finds the quartet in a funky scene with a little outside saxophone play near the end. "Body and Soul," a duet between bass and bass clarinet, moves steadily with serious respect, but in a manner far removed from the original. Potter honors the saxophone masters – but in his own way. "What's New," for the current generation and those just coming up, finds the tenor saxophonist alone, offering natural improvisation over the tune's familiar chord structure. Sure, it's a little play on words, but Potter's take serves to define mainstream jazz and remind us that the future looks bright — as long as young lions such as this feel free to express both the tradition and their own ideas.


Track Listing: 1. The Source (for John Coltrane) 2. Shadow (for Joe Henderson) 3. Sun King (for Sonny Rollins) 4. High Noon (for Eddie Harris) 5. Eurydice (for Wayne Shorter) 6. The Mind

Personnel: Chris Potter, tenor, alto, and soprano saxes, bass clarinet, alto flute, Chinese wood flute; Kevin Hays, piano, Fender Rhodes; Scott Colley, bass; Brian Blade, drums

Title: Gratitude | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


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