Chris Potter | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., Sept. 30, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Oct. 1, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., Oct. 2, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 3, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2010
Price: $20
When I saw guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel at the Jazz Showcase last year, the large audience was dominated by young men, many apparently accompanied by their fathers; I figured most of them were aspiring jazz guitarists, and they were clearly in awe of Rosenwinkel's masterful technique and resplendent harmonies. Chris Potter is an equivalent idol for young reedists, so I expect similar crowds for this trio engagement. On last year's rugged Ultrahang (ArtistShare), a live disc of rock- and funk-driven jazz with his electric quartet, Underground, Potter exhibits stunning control of his tenor saxophone, constructing his improvisations with great intellectual rigor, and his shape-shifting band—keyboardist Craig Taborn, guitarist Adam Rogers, and drummer Nate Smith—moves as an exceptionally agile single organism. The group has a surplus of power but keeps it under confident control, which may be part of the reason the music leaves me a little cold. Given this context, Potter's performance on Lost in a Dream (ECM), a beautifully restrained trio session led by drummer Paul Motian, is especially striking; supported harmonically only by pianist Jason Moran, Potter walks his tenor across Motian's elegant architecture of cymbal work as though it were a tightrope, summoning a tenderness and vulnerability typically masked by bluster and firepower when he plays in Underground or even in the Dave Holland Quintet. His promising trio here includes bassist Larry Grenadier and phenomenal drummer Marcus Gilmore. See also Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. —Peter Margasak

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