Chris Potter / DR Big Band

Transatlantic

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Chris Potter has long established himself as one of the top saxophonists of his generation, but these 2010 sessions with the DR Big Band find him breaking new ground, writing original material for a large ensemble while conducting and serving as the primary soloist as well. "Quick" is a quirky opener, with a funky undercurrent but rich harmonies, dissonance, and his hard-blowing tenor sax. The boisterous "New Year's Day" features more of Potter's burning, Sonny Rollins-influenced tenor, plus the expressive trumpet of Mads la Cour (a fine bandleader in his own right). The sorrowful "Abyssinia" has an exotic air and lumbering pace, but a majesty all its own with the leader's rich scoring of the brass and reeds. But it is the finale, the extended post-bop vehicle "Rumination," that leaves the most lasting impression, alternating between a percolating cooker with the brass subdivided into different sections to back his burning solo, and a mellower mood with a robust solo by trombonist Steen Hansen. Fans of Chris Potter who are used to hearing him lead various small groups will have their ears opened by this outstanding progressive release.