436

Chris Potter: Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Chris Potter: Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard Utilizing the same core group from his two Verve releases, 2001's Gratitude and 2002's Traveling Mercies, saxophonist Chris Potter recorded a couple days worth of gigs at the legendary Village Vanguard in December of 2002, the modus operandi being to provide only the barest of sketches, leaving plenty of space for interplay and improvisation. The result, Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard , is 76 minutes worth of stretching out that defines what Potter is all about: pure visceral energy balanced with an academic quality that occasionally overwhelms the sheer muscle, but always keeps things interesting.

Each member of the group has an impressive résumé, with dozens of recordings to their credit. Pianist Kevin Hays whet his musical teeth with the likes of Bob Belden and Eddie Henderson; bassist Scott Colley is best-known for his work with Harold Danko and, most notably, Jim Hall; and drummer Bill Stewart first came to attention with John Scofield's in the early '90s, a relationship that has continued to this day with Scofield's latest release, EnRoute . Potter, arguably the most ubiquitous saxophonist of his generation, has worked with everyone from Steely Dan and Paul Motian to Dave Douglas, best known for his long-standing relationship with Dave Holland. Everyone has their own solo careers, so when you put these players together, despite the fact that they are still in their 30s, the level of experience dictates that this will be improvisation of the highest order. And considering that everyone goes back with Potter to his earliest days, there is a certain degree of comfort and coming from the same place that ensures an almost telepathic connection.

On a program of four originals and two covers, Potter demonstrates why he is in such high demand. He can stretch a solo out to great lengths with a virtuosity, musicality and sense of tradition that few can match, liberally nodding to his many influences including Ben Webster and John Coltrane. Like Holland he tends to favour irregular meters in his writing, even taking Mingus' "Boogie Stop Shuffle" and turning it into a 13/4 blues. He understands how to arc a solo, building the excitement to fever pitch before handing the reigns over to others in the group.

What is remarkable about each of these players is how they have managed to develop a voice that may be steeped in tradition, but is nevertheless their own. Stewart and Colley make one of the most elastic yet in-the-pocket rhythm sections around. Hays manages to avoid the most obvious influences and, on the strength of this set, proves himself to be an underrated player deserving broader recognition.

While Potter's sheer technical prowess sometimes threatens to overpower his innate musicality, for the most part he makes statements that are well-conceived, developed and executed. Eschewing the more concept-laden work of his past couple of albums, Lift is a celebration of playing at its most pure.

Track Listing: 7.5; What You Wish; Stella By Starlight; Lift; Okinawa; Boogie Stop Shuffle Sax Intro; Boogie Stop Shuffle

Personnel: Chris Potter (tenor and soprano saxophones), Kevin Hays (piano, Fender Rhodes), Scott Colley (bass), Bill Stewart (drums, percussion)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Days Are Not Days" CD/LP/Track Review Days Are Not Days
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "A Moment In Time" CD/LP/Track Review A Moment In Time
by James Nadal
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Upward Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Upward Spiral
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 9, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!