STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Welcome Back, Potter


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This week, our video spotlight shines on saxophonist Chris Potter, who will be returning to St. Louis to play Wednesday, December 12 through Saturday, December 15 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Potter, one of the most in-demand saxophonists around these days, was here most recently in March 2011, performing with his electric band Underground at the Bistro. He's also played in St. Louis previously with his own quartet, with bassist Dave Holland's band, and even with Steely Dan when he was part of their touring unit.

When not leading his own bands, Potter continues his musical relationship with Holland (who's coming here to play the Bistro at the end of February), but also is involved in numerous other musical projects, spending much of this past year touring with guitarist Pat Metheny's Unity Band and with pianist McCoy Tyner.

For his shows at the Bistro, Potter will be playing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Adam Cruz. As the only gig he'll do in the trio format this year, it will be something of a special occasion for Potter's St. Louis fans, and the stripped-down lineup should play to his strengths by giving him plenty of room to stretch out. However, since these are Potter's only trio shows this year, there aren't really any online videos available that would provide a preview.

Instead, we've got a half-dozen recent clips, all recorded since Potter's last visit to St. Louis, that at least should provide a snapshot of what he's sounding like these days. The first video up top features Potter's new quartet, with pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, in July of this year playing “Five Points" at the Blue Note in Milan, Italy.

Down below, there are three more selections from the same show: the Thelonious Monk composition “Work," “Nausikaa" and “Wayfinder."

Below that, you can see Potter doing an unaccompanied version of “Tune-Up," recorded at a workshop for saxophonists in November 2011 in London. Potter's solo renditions of jazz standards have proven to be a popular feature of his clinics and master classes, and those so inclined can see a transcription of this “Tune-Up" solo, rendered as a YouTube video, here.

The sixth clip features an interview with Potter recorded in late 2011, in which he talks about his music and career in general, and also discusses his first foray into trio playing last December with Cruz and bassist John Patitucci. For more about Potter's recent activities, check out the print interviews here and here.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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