Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chris Potter The Sirens ECM 2013 5 Stars!

Melodic expansion deconstructed to a living breathing organism of adventurous exploration.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

A few months back I stated that I would no longer be reviewing ECM product. Truth be told I was reviewing everything they sent be but when the label began insisting on specific dates of publication the novelty and the annoyance soon became too much to tolerate. Writing about something because you want to and not because you have to is far more satisfying much like the latest effort from Chris Potter on ECM, The Sirens.

Chris Potter may well be the modern day version of Hank Mobley. Everyone knows Potter, respects him and his critically acclaimed work yet he seems to go strangely without the consistent ink he so richly deserves. The intensity of a John Coltrane coupled with the soul of Hank Mobley allows Potter to command any stage or recording studio with unmatched authority. On The Sirens Potter is joined by pianist Craig Taborn, double bassist Larry Grenadier and all star drummer Eric Harland. David Virelles is a welcome addition on prepared piano, celeste, and harmonium and adds the subtle nuances that are common place with most ECM recordings.

Potter does a riff on Homer and his melodic travels throughout this release are keeping with that consistent ebb and flow found on most ECM recordings but Potter is far from one note mixing things up with a calypso number "Kalypso." Naturally in keeping with the whole sounds and silences vibe of the label there are a couple of more open ended harmonic experiments that some might consider throw aways however these tunes never push the listener over the edge of that lyrical cliff and are easily worth a second or even third chance if necessary.

Chris Potter is a giant. The Sirens is incredibly solid. There are no surprises here but being an ECM release you should not expect any. A year end best of release for sure.

Tracks: Wine Dark Sea; Wayfinder; Dawn; The Sirens; Penelope; Kalypso; Nausikaa; Stranger At The Gate; The Shades.