236

Chris Potter: Underground

By

Sign in to view read count
Chris Potter: Underground Evidently, rhythm is at the core center of this contemporary and urban-sounding album. Throughout these hard-driving selections, Chris Potter and his 55 Bar cohorts deliver rock-solid performances, both individually and collectively. In fact, one cannot not mention Potter's producing and A&R work—it firmly positions this album as jazz/fusion album of the year (if one can overlook the weird splice in the first track). More, it provides him an exciting live unit.

Indeed, Nate Smith is a powerhouse. His energetic drumming style, which sounds somewhat similar to Dave Weckl, Gene Lake, Sean Rickman and Rick Prince, features his unique ability at juggling broken rhythms, time signatures and displaced/syncopated accents, as well as a mastery of textures and kit-playing techniques. Many will find it interesting to study the way he prepares his shots and punches.

Like Potter, guitarist Wayne Krantz played with Steely Dan. Favoring a slightly overdriven Strat sound, his skewed legato phrases are peppered with Scofield-like double-stops, large intervallic skips, low-register jabs and inventive open-string ideas. Alternating playing the bass part, he and Fender Rhodes player, Craig Taborn, are dynamic and creative accompanists. Former Lost Tribe guitarist Adam Rogers is also added on two tracks. As for the leader, his constancy at holding high standards of inventiveness and coherence never disappoints. The themes and lines pouring out of his muscled tenor saxophone bring conclusive evidence of his moment-to-moment quest for musical unity in improvisation.

The album's pacing alternates between incandescent jazz-fusion selections, all-out solos and airier passages. It climaxes with Potter's "Nudnick," a ten-minute piece with an oblique 7/8 melody and tightly played ensemble parts. It is arguably a piece of jazz-fusion anthology. "Big Top" allows everyone to stretch in their solos. The extended performance ends with Smith freely soloing over an ostinato that borrows on the melody's triplet leitmotive.

"The Wheel," with Rogers, is another rhythmic tour de force. The bisectional melody is built around repeated alternating measures of 6/8 and 9/8 (which maybe is the source of its title?). The track's fireworks finale showcases Potter surfing over the band and Smith's incessant throbbing.

The set closes with a subdued and reharmonized rendition of Lennon & McCartney's "Yesterday." Taking liberty with the form and phrasing, Potter's arrangement is filled with neat harmonic and voice-leading concepts that sheds a new light on the pop standard.


Track Listing: Next Best Western; Morning Bell; Nudnik; Lotus Blossom; Big Top; The Wheel; Celestial Nomad; Underground; Yesterday.

Personnel: Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Wayne Krantz: electric guitar; Craig Taborn: Fender Rhodes; Nate Smith: drums; Adam Rogers: electric guitar (6,9).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Serpentines" CD/LP/Track Review Serpentines
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Shipwreck 4" CD/LP/Track Review Shipwreck 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Jim Olin
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: December 9, 2016

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!

Buy it!