Shortly before the recording of Vertigo, Chris Potter suffered partial hearing loss after undergoing treatments for Ménière’s disease, an inner ear condition. Vertigo was in fact one of the symptoms he had been experiencing. Despite (or perhaps because of) the somewhat frightening circumstance that led to its title, Vertigo is Potter's most mature and expressive work to date. "Almost Home" and "Wake Up" are two of his prettiest, most memorable melodies. "Fishy" and the title track feature bass clarinet overdubs that double Scott Colley's basslines, to great effect. "Shiva" opens the record with an angular melodic line, stated in unison with utmost precision by Potter and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, whose warm yet crisp tone is a delight. Drummer Billy Drummond trades 12-bar solo statements with Colley on "Long Walk, Short Pier," the first of three tracks to feature guest tenor man Joe Lovano. ("This Will Be," based on the standard "My Shining Hour," and "Modeen's Mood," a free-form tribute to drummer Paul Motian, are the other two.) "Act III, Scene I" is a rubato meditation on the most famous Shakespeare soliloquy of them all ("To be or not to be"). Even more than Unspoken, Potter's superstar session with John Scofield, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette, Vertigo reveals Potter as a player and composer with an uncommonly personal vision.
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler