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Traveling Mercies
     

Traveling Mercies

5.0 1
by Chris Potter
 
At 31, saxophonist Chris Potter has spent much of his life on the road with a veritable musical who's who, most recently Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Steely Dan, and the quartet that performs on Traveling Mercies, his second release for Verve. Comprising eight originals with strong melodies, plus the traditional hymn "Children Go" and Willie Nelson's "Just as

Overview

At 31, saxophonist Chris Potter has spent much of his life on the road with a veritable musical who's who, most recently Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Steely Dan, and the quartet that performs on Traveling Mercies, his second release for Verve. Comprising eight originals with strong melodies, plus the traditional hymn "Children Go" and Willie Nelson's "Just as I Am," it's compositionally and programmatically ambitious, an informed meditation on America from a one-world perspective. Deploying his full arsenal (tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, flutes, reed organ, and sampler), Potter plays like a force of nature, and his unit is superb: Drummer Bill Stewart keeps the rhythms percolating with contemporary beats at once populist and complex; keyboardist Kevin Hays entextures the flow with apropos electric and acoustic comping; bassist Scott Colley's lines embody the principle of keen harmonic intelligence in perpetual motion. Having accumulated a seemingly limitless vocabulary from all corners of jazz history, Potter is supremely prepared to push the envelope of the jazz mainstream, and he does so with imagination and impeccable craft throughout this stimulating recital.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - David R. Adler
Chris Potter gets more and more adventurous. On this follow-up to the strong Gratitude, the tenor and soprano saxophonist beefs up strong writing and heady group interplay with occasional sampled sounds and miscellaneous textures like clavinet and reed organ. True to form, he plays additional wind instruments -- alto flute and bass clarinet in this case -- and isn't afraid of overdubbing them to create lush orchestration, on tracks like "Snake Oil" and "Any Moment Now." On the haunting "Invisible Man" he even doubles the alto flute melody with his singing voice. Not until the fifth track, a Meters-like adaptation of the spiritual "Children Go," do you hear a 4/4 tempo; loping lines over odd meters prevail, with pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Bill Stewart expertly laying down the edgy grooves. (Like on Gratitude, Hays doubles on Fender Rhodes.) John Scofield contributes tart solos on three tracks, while Adam Rogers adds nylon-string and slide colors on two others. The sweeping, Metheny-esque harmonies of "Highway One" bring the program to a head, followed by a closing bass clarinet/piano duo on Willie Nelson's "Just as I Am." As a jazz record, Traveling Mercies is very much a product of its post-millennial times, but it still comes across as highly individual. Its value will be lasting.
All About Jazz
Potter possesses a strong tenor sound...but it’s a real treat to hear him on bass clarinet, flute, and odd instrumentation such as the reed organ. Combine this with exceptional compositional skills, and choice musicians; Traveling Mercies is a cut above the rest.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/17/2002
Label:
Umvd Labels
UPC:
0044001824326
catalogNumber:
018243

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Traveling Mercies 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a brilliant, multi-faceted jazz adventure that reveals more depth and texture with each repeated listening. Chris Potter is something else, equally gifted as a writer and instrumentalist. As Miles used to say, "he's the one that's the killer." While you're at it, catch Chris stretching out in the context on Dave Holland's big band on "What Goes Around."