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Dave Potter: You Already Know

Dan Bilawsky By

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You might not know who drummer Dave Potter is, but you should. Whether stoking the flames in Jason Marsalis' Vibes Quartet, adding rhythmic flair to the recordings of bassist Will Goble, or leading the charge on his own, Potter has something incredibly positive to say.

With You Already Know, Potter shrewdly mixes it up, both in terms of line-ups and direction. He simultaneously places himself at the front and back of various trio, quartet, and quintet configurations that touch on classic compositions and sturdy originals with verve and class. When all is said and done here, Potter leaves us with an appreciation for his work as soloist, composer, leader, and rhythmic pillar. He does it all, and he does it well.

While this album will technically fall into the straight-ahead category, that's too reductive a heading to use. Potter comes at the music from a variety of avenues, not a single thoroughfare. The further down the track list you get, the easier that is to see. There's plenty of energy to be found upfront, as a tightly-choreographed Potter arrangement of Wayne Shorter's "Night Dreamer" sets the album in motion and leads to a hard-charging and explosive "Country By Choice." Then Potter slows things down and lightens the mood with "My Blue Heaven," toys with metric perception on "Ratio Man," tips his cap to Benny Golson with a horn-fronted "Whisper Not," and takes the reins on Thelonious Monk's "Played Twice." Through it all, strong solos keep on coming from a variety of well-known players and up-and- comers—Marsalis, Goble, saxophonist Miguel Alvarado, rising star pianist Louis Heriveaux, and piano heavy Marcus Roberts, to mention just a handful. It would've been interesting to hear Potter work within a single setting from start to finish, but hearing him adjust to different ensembles tells us more about how he operates and rolls with the changes.

The second half of the album opens on the slow and bluesy "I'm Going To Heaven, And You Ain't!," a trio number that gives Roberts and bassist Rodney Jordan some well-deserved space to unwind. Then there's the right- down-the-middle "Puppet Master," Alvarado's adrenalized "Lettin' Loose," Marsalis' beautifully breezy "Bells Of Ascona," a trip through Bobby Watson's "Beatitudes" with some straight-to-swing vacillating, and a "Last Tune..." that finds the drummer vocalizing a goodbye and introducing the personnel. If you didn't already know, now you do: Dave Potter doesn't mess around.

Track Listing: Night Dreamer; Country By Choice; My Blue Heaven; Ratio Man; Whisper Not; Played Twice; I'm Going to Heaven, and You Ain't!; Puppet Master; Lettin’ Loose; Bells of Ascona; Beatitudes; Last tune.

Personnel: Dave Potter: Drums; Jason Marsalis: Vibraphone (1, 3, 6, 10); Austin Johnson: piano (1, 3, 6, 10); Will Goble: bass (1, 3, 6, 10); Miguel Alvarado: tenor saxophone (2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12), soprano saxophone (4); Darren English: trumpet (2, 8); Marcus Roberts: piano (2, 7, 8); Rodney Jordan: bass (2, 7, 8); Louis Heriveaux: piano (4, 5, 9, 11, 12); Craig Shaw: bass (4, 5, 9, 11, 12); Andy Sioberg: trumpet (5, 11, 12).

Title: You Already Know | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Summit Records

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