Backed by pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Billy Hart, Chris Potter delivers yet another powerful album. His playing and writing ascend another rung on the ladder of sophistication and intensity. Leaving aside his alto sax, Potter opts for tenor on most tracks, but he plays soprano on the quasi-waltz “Book of Kells” and the standard “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” (Mehldau sits out on the latter). He also employs bass clarinet on the somber “Chorale.” The multiple horn overdubs with which Potter experimented on his previous Concord album, Pure, are absent here.
Billy Hart is especially well-suited for the rock-like rhythm of “Nero’s Fiddle,” the 5/4 boogaloo of “Moving In,” and the oblique funk of “Rhubarb.” “The Forest” contains a harmonized passage that sounds reminiscent of Chick Corea. “South for the Winter” highlights Potter’s mellower side, while “Pelog” and “Old Faithful” are solid, midtempo blowing vehicles.
Concept-wise, this isn’t Potter’s boldest offering. But the playing is emotionally charged and technically superb. – David R. Adler