Chris Potter

The Sirens

(ECM)

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The Sirens aren't part of the street noise going on outside an urban jazz club, but the femmes fatales whose songs lured sailors in Homer's The Odyssey. And, in setting his impressions of this great epic Greek poem to music, saxophonist Chris Potter has come up with a collection of tunes that certainly call the listener back, not just for their strong, quickly memorable, melodic qualities but for the improvisations and group interaction they inspire in supporting musicians, Craig Taborn, Larry Grenadier, Eric Harland and David Virelles. Potter is in danger of replacing the late Michael Brecker as jazz's saxophone pace-setter, and you'll hear why as he absolutely flies over the rhythm section on the opening track, Wine Dark Sea, maintaining a sure sense of structure all the while. However, this album isn't all about technique. Potter's intention was to tell stories and he succeeds magnificently, particularly on the title track where his slightly Jewish-sounding bass clarinet melody gives way to a bowed bass solo before his own tenor takes up the narrative. A thoroughly involving listen.

Rob Adams