Chris Potter

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Gratitude Review

by Paula Edelstein

Saxophonist Chris Potter honors the legacy of some of jazz's greats on Gratitude, his debut for Verve. The award-winning virtuoso and composer is compelling on his tributes to John Coltrane, Eddie Harris, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker, and several other legendary saxophonists. Gratitude contains nine original compositions written by Potter, who plays tenor saxophone on the majority of the songs, switches to soprano saxophone on "Eurydice," his tribute to Wayne Shorter, and plays the alto saxophone and Chinese wood flute on "Star Eyes," the tribute to Charlie Parker. Chris Potter is outstanding on bass clarinet on his composition "The Visitor" for Lester Young and captures the ambience that reflects the many styles of these accomplished players, including sliding from one note to a higher or lower note with intermediate pitches on "The Source," his tribute to the glissandi (sheets of sound) of John Coltrane, and capturing the dense, soulful sound of Joe Henderson on "Shadow." Gratitude also includes a song titled "What's New," for the current generation which completes the set. Potter, leading his great quartet of contemporaries -- keyboardist Kevin Hayes, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade -- makes a significant contribution to jazz history with this project and offers musical statements and voices that are truly varied in scope and deep in their essence.

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