Chris Potter: The Sirens

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Chris Potter
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Chris Potter: The Sirens
WORKS: The Sirens
PERFORMER: Chris Potter (sax), Craig Taborn (piano), David Virelles (piano, percussion), Larry Grenadier (bass), Eric Harland (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 2794579

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Chris Potter’s take on Homer’s epic poem eschews the portentous in favour of the auspicious; rather than being a tale of humanity enduring the whims of disinterested gods, this is a voyage of widened horizons and enlightened perspectives.

It is Potter’s first album for ECM as leader following a long-standing role as a first-call sideman for the likes of label stalwart and bassist Dave Holland. This set of originals is unusual in its deployment of two keyboardists, although pitting a piano against a prepared counterpart, a celeste and a harmonium is unlikely to muddy the waters and doesn’t. Potter’s own playing, particularly on soprano and bass clarinet, simply takes wing and flies in graceful but also mischievous melodic arcs, busily ornamented and accommodatingly spacious by turns. Grenadier’s oddly nasal arco bass sound is an unexpected annoyance, but otherwise this is
fine piece of work both musically and sonically.

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Roger Thomas