Chris Potter | Gratitude – [Verve Records, 2001]Over the past 8 years, Chris Potter has been tremendously overlooked by the jazz media and hype circuit, yet worshiped in secret by saxophonists around the country, causing many to pull their hair out and curse the day they first picked up the horn. Major kudos to Jason Olaine for bringing him to a record label that can hopefully find him a mainstream audience.
While Potter’s albums have always featured interesting and memorable tunes, Gratitude stands out as being thoughtfully written, programmed, and produced. Somehow, Potter has figured out a way to communicate with those caught up in jazz’s current fad of odd-metered, groove-driven, atmospheric, fender Rhodes-drenched songs (a la Redman, Douglas, Scofield, and Rosenwinkle)without sacrificing the rhythmic flow and melodic simplicity that are his compositional trademarks. He has also successfully made his almost intimidating improvisational prowess (ever catch him live?) more accessible (mainly due to the context of the tunes) to those in the jazz community not already familiar with his playing (hey, my dad liked it!) without sacrificing imagination, intensity, or swing.
My recommendation: check it out! There’s not as much hardcore blowing here as on some of his other records, but you just might catch yourself humming the bassline to “HIGH NOON” all day. I know I did. —Anonymous
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