In past recordings, Chris Potter has dedicated several of them to his heroes and influences, reflecting the diversity of his style and how he loves the tenor saxophonists who came before him. Though the title of this one is Song for Anyone, referring to those who may have passed away in either anonymity or eulogized, this CD is not necessarily dedicated to a nebulous "them." It is played and acknowledged as such directly for Michael Brecker, thus taking on a somber overall tone, accented by woodwinds and strings, making for an at times reflective and humbling requiem for the late contemporary jazz superstar. Melancholy moods begin immediately on "The Absence" as Potter's sax and the flute of Erica VonKleist set the mood immediately. VonKleist is a major player on this recording as her pastoral tones build powerfully and subside during "Closer to the Sun," and contrast with Potter's whimsical and inquisitive themes for the light funk chamber piece "Chief Seattle." The strings accent the modal horn lines for "Against the Wind," while the interactive "Family Tree" is a song of repast and memories, featuring the throaty bassoon of Michael Rabinowitz. A pensive, thoughtful piece, "The Arc of a Day" reflects a frame of mind involved with shock, juxtaposed against the drum inserts of Adam Cruz, then turns into a sheer free and anguished frenzy. "Cupid & Psyche" is a purposefully disjointed number, mysterious and elusive emotionally, while the final piece, "All by All" has a country blues or "Shenandoah Waltz" feel, and is a rustic selection. The string players meld well, not as an afterthought, but as the straw that stirs the drink. Rabinowitz, clarinetist Greg Tardy, violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Scott Colley, and guitarist Steve Cardenas are all truly outstanding players, leaders in their own right, and contribute a rich harmonious sheen to this well conceived and executed music. A departure from Potter's small group efforts, this project is close to perfect, and considering his high-level output, may be the highlight of his discography. Everyone should hear Song for Anyone.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos