I recently received an email from a reader thanking me for these jazz Friday posts. He explained that he loved learning about some of these older musicians that he had never heard of before but then he very politely ended the email, “Do you listen to anyone that’s not dead?” After I got done laughing I wrote him back and said that yes I indeed do and will even share a few of my favorite non-dead jazz artists.
Chris Potter (Wikipedia) is one of them. He’s one of the finest saxophonists ever to pick up the instrument. For whatever reason, his name has never really entered the public awareness like Wynton Marsalis or (God have mercy on my soul) Kenny G. Nevertheless, he’s an amazing saxophonist. He came to prominence in the late 90s but has continued to release solo albums and work as a sideman with a variety of groups. The guy is a monster. You really can’t go wrong with any Chris Potter album but my favorite is Follow the Red Line: Live at the Village Vanguard (iTunes). Live jazz is always the best, even recorded live jazz. The lead track on that album, Train (iTunes) always makes me smile and on Togo (iTunes), Chris puts down his tenor sax and plays the bass clarinet at the beginning and then comes back in later to play one of my favorite Chris Potter solos on his tenor sax. Be warned … Chris goes way out there on the Togo solo. Another good starting place for Chris Potter is the Apple Music playlist, Chris Potter Essentials. And best of all, Chris Potter is not dead.