WBGO Blog
  • Live Blog: Chris Potter Underground at Village Vanguard

    September 16, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Chris Potter Soundcheck Photo

    See some photos from our day at the Vanguard.

    8:45pm
    The band returned from dinner.  Chris Potter is warming up the tenor.  Adam Rogers is drinking coffee.   We're live in fifteen minutes.

    9:02pm
    This is "Facing East."  The band has played it before, but this is the first time for posterity.

    9:17pm
    I'll be surprised if we get five songs during this set.  They play long.

    9:19pm
    This is "Viva Las Vilnius," from Follow the Red Line, Underground's most recent CD.  Recorded live in this club last year.  Love these grooves.

    9:35pm
    Pop Tune #1

    9:37pm
    What a great solo by Adam Rogers.  Dirty blues.

    9:42pm
    Chris Potter blistering the audience with a solo.  Quotes of "Jean Pierre" and "Nature Boy" in the solo.

    9:48pm
    Chris Potter has picked up the bass clarinet.

    9:51pm
    Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe."  As a ballad.  This is beautiful.

    9:55pm
    Wow, that was lovely.

    10:00pm
    Untitled Original.   New music

    10:06pm
    Chris Potter and Nate Smith are playing duo.  Whole lotta music goin' on.

  • Just Press Send

    September 16, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    I wonder how many of you are fans of WBGO for what we do on the web. Maybe you have never listened to the radio and heard WBGO. I understand. It took years to put all of this content up on our site, and I imagine  you could go page by page for days on end and never run out of interesting music and information about Jazz. We need you to become a member of WBGO and contribute just as much as we need those people who listen to us on the air.

    We are having a Fund Drive  and we need you to help Read more

  • Chris Potter Underground At The Village Vanguard

    September 16, 2008. Posted by WBGO.

    image
    Chris Potter. (Image Credit: Donald Dietz/NPR)

    In recent years, Chris Potter has been hatching a new identity. Already considered one of his generation's premier improvisers, the tenor saxophonist has been devising a way to merge his cutting virtuosity into a different type of working band; one that conjures up crisp, backbeat-heavy electronic textures. On Tuesday, Sept. 16, Potter led his quartet, called the Chris Potter Underground, back into underground Manhattan for a show at the Village Vanguard, broadcast live on air by WBGO and live online by NPR Music.

    In two discs, the Chris Potter Underground has established an attractively progressive sound, merging knotty rhythms, angular harmonies and even free improvisation with the accessibility of pulpy, visceral grooves. On faster tunes, it works in part because of its oblique references to funk polyrhythms; on slower songs, beautiful melodies emerge over fuzzy washes of sound. The sound also owes much to its rhythm section, which seems able to compose spontaneously while still exercising the tact required around electronic instruments. Guitarist Adam Rogers, who made his debut as a bandleader at the Vanguard earlier this year, interjects floating riffs and amplified shredding alike; keyboardist Craig Taborn, who often rigs up innovative plugged-in atmospheres with his own projects, is characteristically fluid on the Fender Rhodes; and drummer Nate Smith rounds it out with plenty of hard-edged kick and snare accents.

    Potter first emerged as a young New York prodigy around the dawn of the 1990s. A stint with bebop legend Red Rodney, three years a trumpeter to Charlie Parker, earned him plenty of opportunities, as did the support of Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland, who brought him to the attention of Concord Records. But, unlike many young stars, Potter matured quickly: In countless subsequent recordings as both leader and sideman (at times reaching 20 appearances on disc per year), he established an eclectic, forward-thinking voice celebrated by critics and peers, with a level of technical control to match.

    Not yet 40, Potter continues to rise to the forefront of the jazz world. Having long played in high-profile bands led by Dave Holland and (until recently) Dave Douglas, Potter has been fielding more and more requests for gigs; these days, it's hard to think of artists with whom he hasn't yet worked. In 2007, he celebrated the release of two very different projects at once: Song for Anyone, a set of intricate originals orchestrated for a 10-person ensemble, and the Chris Potter Underground's Follow the Red Line, recorded live at — where else? — the Village Vanguard.

    Currently residing in Hungary while off tour, Potter returns to the city where he made his name on stage. With Red Rodney, Potter made his debut at the Village Vanguard as a 19-year-old saxophonist in 1990.