Release Date: Jan 29, 2013
Record label: ECM
Genre(s): Jazz, Modern Creative, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde Jazz
The Sirens is Chris Potter's debut as a leader for ECM but he’s no stranger to the label. He recorded as a member of Dave Holland's band, and collaborated with Paul Motian and Jason Moran on Lost in a Dream. The saxophonist’s quintet here includes pianist Craig Taborn -- a member of Potter's electric ensemble Underground -- bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Eric Harland, and the relatively unknown David Virelles, texturing the proceedings on prepared piano, celeste, and harmonium.
If the US saxophonist Chris Potter should seem too deeply jazz-rooted an artist to fit such a genre-loosening catalogue as ECM's (though he's recorded for it as a sideman in Dave Holland's groups), fans might be relieved that his leadership debut for the label keeps those qualities uppermost. There are plenty of seductive episodes, from the Charles Lloyd-like opening on melancholy tenor-sax exhortations of Wine Dark Sea, to the stealthy, smoky Wayfinder. Potter's rugged tenderness as a ballad player fuels the delicious bass clarinet reverie over Grenadier's solemn bowing on the title track, and Kalypso inventively mingles a dance vibe within a free-jazz rhythmic feel.
Not only is Chris Potter a virtuoso of the saxophone, but he seems able to step at will into any contemporary jazz genre and make himself at home. This is his first ECM album as leader and it comes complete with a touch of the glossy austerity that is that label's house style. Throughout the suite of nine pieces, inspired by The Odyssey, the spare lyricism of Potter's playing sometimes diverts attention from his sheer technical brilliance and the acuteness of his band is quite remarkable.
The union of ECM with Potter promises to be a happy and fruitful one. John Eyles 2013 The Sirens is saxophonist Chris Potter’s first ECM release as a leader, a significant milestone which marks the culmination of his inexorable rise over two decades. Although he has recorded for a respectable selection of labels since his 1994 debut album, ECM is one of a select few (including Blue Note) which says something special about a musician.