Chris Potter — There Is a Tide (Dec. 4, 2020)USA FLAG                                                                                               Chris Potter — There Is a Tide (Dec. 4, 2020)  ✹14th Tais Awards ✹ 2021 ✹ NOMINATED ALBUM ✹Více než 10 nástrojů, uvedených na rukávu tohoto alba sahá od basklarinetu po altovou flétnu a od samplů po plnohodnotnou rytmickou sekci, včetně kláves a kytary. Nejvýznamnější plynulý střih současné jazzové fúze je v úvodní skladbě, která vyniká, jako kdyby ji hrála kapela veletržní velikosti.
Celé album je ale dílem jednoho jediného muže, amerického saxofonisty Chrise Pottera, kterému se obvykle daří ve skupinové dynamice a dívá se na bubeníky jako na pobídnutí. Lockdown to všechno ukončil, Potter tedy flexibilně přeorientoval svou kreativní snahu a výsledkem je tento samostatný sólový projekt. Létající prsty, složité variace výšek tónů a myšlenky tak dokonale splývající, jako by byly předkomponované. Dojem nejenom  zůstal, nálada alba stále stoupá a obavy byly poněkud zmírněny tím, že byly inspirovány zcela zevnitř mého hloupého mozečku. Chris Potter je opravdový mistr představivosti!
Jak sada kompozic postupuje, klarinety se mísí s flétnami, kytara a klávesy se prolínají a basy a bicí se spojují dohromady. Valčík „Rest Your Head“ je jemný, náladový kus „Oh So Many Stars“ je doutnající pomalé hoření v krbu a „Drop Your Anchor Down“ má pop~gospelový nádech. Díky náladám a instrumentaci v neustálém pohybu se album dostalo až k pochmurnosti a radosti v „New Life (In the Wake of Devastation)“, poslední skladby alba. Resumé: jazzová fúze plná jasnosti a optimismu.Chris Potter ©Dave StapletonLocation: New York, New York
Album release: December 4, 2020
Record Label: Edition Records
Duration:     55:18
01. I Had a Dream   5:29
02. Like a Memory   5:48
03. Mother of Water  5:46
04. Rising Over You   5:40
05. Oh So Many Stars   5:45
06. Drop Your Anchor Down   3:53
07. Beneath the Waves   5:40
08. Rest Your Head   3:58
09. As the Moon Ascends   5:16
10. New Life (In the Wake of Devastation)   6:03
♦  Chris Potter: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes, piano, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, samples.
Recorded by Chris Potter
Mixed by Christopher Allen
Mastered by Huntley Miller at HM Mastering
Artwork design by Oli Bentley at Split
Photos by Dave Stapleton
♦  It’s a year no one will forget, a year in which the global lockdown was shared by all, and yet experienced in a million different ways.
♦  For Chris Potter, a musician who has been on the road continuously since the 1990s, whose raison d’etre is playing live, lockdown presented both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a tribute to his creativity, personal integrity and huge musical talent that Chris was able to take on this challenge and make something unbelievably fresh from the opportunity.
♦  Starting in May 2020, as the Black Lives Matter movement was kicking off (reflected in the track ‘I Had A Dream’), Chris set out to create something alone, to express his reaction to these chaotic times. Uniquely, playing each and every instrument: piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, percussion, samples and of course saxophones, Chris took just six weeks to complete the whole process.
Chris talks through his process:
♣    Recording an album like this for the first time required Chris to think about the process of writing, recording and producing in a completely new way. As Chris explains:
♦  ‘This project grew out of a wish to continue creating at a time when most of the usual channels of musical expression were unavailable. I offer it as a musical perspective on the issues we are facing: the importance of community at a time of physical distance, the need for strong leadership, the necessity of supporting vulnerable members of society who have always gotten the short end of the stick, the troubled relationship we have with the natural world, and the difficulty of dealing with all the fear and uncertainty we face. My hope is that this extremely difficult period will also have positive effects, leading us to focus on the true value of things. Of course part of the beauty of instrumental music is how its meaning is defined by the listener, but these are some of the thoughts I had while creating it.
♦  On a technical level, making this recording required the use of many different skills, I’ve never been so acutely aware of my limitations. In addition to the difficulty of trying to get good performances on every instrument, there was the challenge of recording without a proper studio. Most importantly, there was the necessity of letting the big picture unfold as I went along, paying attention to details while remaining focused on the goal of creating a coherent, unified whole. It was a very absorbing and rewarding experience to produce this music, and I hope the listener experiences it that way also’.
♦  Musically, Chris has been able to create something that is not only innovative but grooves like a crazy thing. Building each composition from the bass brings the funk to the fore. Rhythmically, there’s a flow that is reflected in the inspiration behind many of the tracks: the title (from a speech by Brutus in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’) sets the tone — the tide is the ultimate rhythm. The songs also have a poetic, fluid theme, as Chris explains:
♦  “… you see the tune names form a kind of poem in sequence. ‘The Mother of Waters’ is a reference to the Yoruba and Santeria goddess Yemoja.” [Yemoja is a major water deity from the Yoruba religion. She is an orisha, in this case the patron spirit of oceans and rivers — particularly the Ogun River in Nigeria].
What’s in the Bundle?
♦  This project is as new and exhilarating to us at Edition Records as it was to Chris, and to share this excitement we’re offering his fans an exclusive opportunity to grab bundle versions as well as standard versions of the coloured LP and CD. These bundles will include sheet music of all ten tracks, as well as a video analysis by Chris discussing his inspiration, approach and process in writing, recording, arranging and performing all the instruments on the album.
♦  The first 300 copies of the LP will be numbered and include a signed postcard.
♦  This solo album by Chris Potter, made in six weeks while in lockdown, reveals instrumental insight as he plays all the instruments in a new and challenging experience that included writing, recording and producing. It’s not as thrilling as when he plays with his groups, but his known strengths are on display, especially the killer saxophone solos, the compositional eclecticism, and the ability to find color and joy in his surroundings.
♦  The opening track, “I Had a Dream”, has all that. The piece, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, has a glowing Afro~folk feel to it that enhances the urgency of equality in this world.
♦  Potter plays the guitar with a clean, exotic touch on “Like a Memory”, whose main melody is designed with affiliated layers of woodwinds. Tenor saxophone and bass clarinet were chosen for the soloing.
♦  Referencing the Yoruba and Santeria goddess Yemoja, “Mother of Waters” flows at a 3/4 tempo, relying on a fine percussive tract and some clever chromatic shifts to succeed. Breezes of funk are efficiently mixed with African folk music. Still, deeper funk excavations can be found on “Rising Over You”, which boasts some surprising turns in the way. In turn, “Rest Your Head” waltzes gently, displaying a lovely pop melody on top of a harmonic tapestry competently textured with acoustic and electric guitars.
♦  Also harmonically captivating, “Oh So Many Stars” shows a beautiful, contemplative side without committing to a slow pace. It contrasts with “Beneath the Waves”, whose final section, projected with a dancing quality, allows percussion and horn juxtapositions to stand out.
♦  There is a Tide was conceptualized and arranged with imagination, insisting on the search for beauty and hope instead of focusing on the fear and despair. Although far from Potter’s foremost works, it’s hard not to be uplifted by its positive energy. —
Mike Hobart ⌊DECEMBER 4 2020⌋ Score: ★★★★