Chris Potter, Eagle’s Point Review

Chris -Potter-Jazz-Sensibilities-Feature

Chris Potter, Eagle’s Point Review

by Jeff Becker

Chris-Potter-CDChris Potter’s latest album, Eagle’s Point, is another outstanding addition to the modern jazz landscape, signifying a rare assembly of jazz titans: Brad Mehldau on piano, John Patitucci on double bass, and Brian Blade on drums. Released in the Spring of 2024 on Edition Records, this album is a collection of eight original Potter compositions, each a vehicle for its contributors’ collaborative spirit and virtuosity. Each musician, an established force in their own right, combines their unique talents to create an album that transcends the sum of its parts.

At the heart of Eagle’s Point is Potter’s vision, brought to life through compositions that highlight each player’s individual genius while fostering a cohesive group sound. Mehldau’s eloquent piano, Patitucci’s intricate bass lines, and Blade’s rhythmic finesse provide the perfect backdrop for Potter’s saxophonic storytelling. The album pivots from the exuberant to the introspective, echoing the dynamic range of jazz eras and even hints of classical, moving through moods with the fluidity and grace of a murmuration of starlings.

The opening track, “Dream of Home,” immediately sets the tone with its buoyant swing and intricate interplay, showcasing Potter’s robust tenor in a dance of exuberance and sophistication. The title track, “Eagle’s Point,” epitomizes the album’s essence, blending serene grooves with bold improvisations in a narrative of musical exploration.

Notably, “Indigo Ildikó” and “Aria for Anna” stand out for their romantic undertones and expressive depth, highlighting Potter’s versatility on both bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. These pieces and “Other Plans” display the quartet’s ability to seamlessly converse and build ideas between listening and reacting, each musician lending their voice to a greater collective expression only when the music calls for their input.

“Cloud Message” and “Malaga Moon” further demonstrate the quartet’s dynamic range, from contemplative melodies to complex rhythms, leading to the final track, “Horizon Dance.” This closer, with its calypso-tinged groove, encapsulates the joy and liberation that permeates the album, offering a fitting end to a personal and universal journey.

Recorded by John Davis at The Bunker Studio and mixed and mastered with a keen ear for detail, Eagle’s Point benefits from a production that respects the acoustic nature of the jazz quartet setting while enhancing its natural vibrancy. The album’s artwork, crafted by Oli Bentley of Split, visually echoes the music’s intricate beauty and depth.

In conclusion, Eagle’s Point is a landmark album in contemporary jazz, showcasing the brilliance of its contributors and the power of collaborative artistry. Chris Potter and his supergroup have delivered a work that brings the history of jazz saxophone a step further in its evolution. Furthermore, the album promises to captivate and inspire listeners with its depth, unity, and innovation and reaffirms Potter’s status as a visionary composer, performer, and bandleader. All of this makes Eagle’s Point an essential addition to the jazz collection.


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