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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


CHRIS POTTER

GRATITUDE
Chris Potter-Tenor, Alto, Soprano Saxes, Alto Flute, Chinese Wood Flute, Bass Clarinet. Kevin Hays-Keyboards, Scott Colley-Bass, Brian Blade-Drums.
Recorded September 2000
Verve 549 433-2
Crotchet  

 


 
  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's Eye Intro
7. The Mind's Eye - for Michael Brecker and Joe Lovano
8. Gratitude - for all the Past Masters
9. The Visitor - for Lester Young
10. Body & Soul - for Coleman Hawkins
11.Star Eyes - for Charlie Parker
12. Vox Humana - for Ornette Coleman
13. What's New - for the Current Generation
 




Chris Potter is undoubtedly one of the most talented younger players. He has obviously worked hard to acquire a prodigious technique. He has a personal sound on tenor which is bright and modern - perhaps closer to the Coltrane/Brecker school than to the rounder sounds of Joe Lovano. Potter has clearly learnt to control his performances in the sense that he is not guilty of "overplaying" as is the case with many of his contemporaries. He is also possessed of the ability to adapt to the style and mood of the piece.

This is a "concept" album in the sense that it is a dedication in sound portraits to the saxophone players who have influenced Chris Potter in some way or to some degree. Potter himself explains the various pieces in the liner-note, giving some insight into the whys and wherefores of each selection.

To my ears ,this recording is not an attempt to produce "sound-alike" performances, although there are certainly some moments of this because of the musician's influence on Potters development as a player. (I found the Joe Henderson tribute "Shadow" to be instantly recognisable without recourse to the liner notes). The Rollins and Eddie Harris numbers are highly effective and evoke the atmosphere of the work of these players. I felt that the blues to John Coltrane was perhaps a little childlike in its theme, although Coltrane himself often composed deceptively simple melodies. ( The album "Coltrane Plays The Blues" springs to mind).

I am not sure that I like the idea of the "concept" recording, with the exception of the song-book variety. I think perhaps it is an unnecessarily limiting and restraining factor in terms of both composition and performance. However this is a very fine disc which is aided by the addition of a few select standards to leaven the original material. For me the highlight of this session is "Body And Soul" which Potter chooses to play on bass clarinet to great effect.


Dick Stafford


D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.




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