June 20, 2024

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CD review: Chris Potter: Got The Keys To The Kingdom (Live At The Village Vanguard) 2023: Video, CD cover

World-renowned saxophonist Chris Potter releases a recording of music live from the legendary New York venue: the Village Vanguard. Capturing moments from Chris’ annual new-year’s residency (recorded 2022), the new album features an all-star band comprising Craig Taborn, Scott Colley and Marcus Gilmore.

Reimagined folk tunes (“Nozani Na,” “Olha Maria”), powerful spirituals (“Got the Keys to the Kingdom”) and uncommon jazz standards (“Blood Count,” “Klactoveedsedstene”) make the final cut from the multi-night residency.

Expect high energy, intensity, technical brilliance, effervescent joy and a snapshot of one of the world’s greatest saxophonists in his element.

One of the finest saxophonists on the planet teams up with an all-star heavy-weight band at the storied New York venue in a set of covers. This is some of the most classic and exciting live music from a modern, small band ensemble that you’ll hear today.

‘Got the Keys to the Kingdom’ is the new album from world-renowned saxophonist Chris Potter, recorded live at the Village Vanguard in February 2022. Since joining Edition Records in 2019, he has released two albums with his Circuits Trio (featuring James Francies and Eric Harland), as well as the multi-tracked solo record: ‘There Is A Tide’. Chris’ latest album features an all-star band comprising Craig Taborn, Scott Colley and Marcus Gilmore, recorded live in arguably the most famous and revered Jazz club in the world.

The new record is bursting with energy – in the moment and free. The tracklist exclusively features covers, often simple, joyous spiritual songs walking a path between augmenting the music but not losing the rawness of the original. Reimagined folk tunes (Nozani Na, Olha Maria), powerful spirituals (Got the Keys to the Kingdom) and uncommon jazz standards (Blood Count, Klactoveedsedstene) make the final cut from the multi-night residency. It’s a tracklist that defies convention allowing the band space to explore with some melodies that may not be so familiar to fans of the music; as Chris says himself – “these are tunes people don’t usually play”.

The band plays with unity and spirit, injecting momentum and seamless flow. Craig Taborn’s majestic sheets of sound, Scott Colley’s earthiness and Marcus Gilmore’s fiery pulse are commanding and compelling when fused together with Chris Potter’s distinctive biting and nuanced playing.

There’s no doubt that Chris Potter is entering a new phase in his career; since the lockdowns brought a stop to his unrelenting schedule of touring, Chris has had more hours to practise and compose. The result is some of the highest level playing you’ll hear – with ultimate humility and character.

The album is situated within the historic Village Vanguard, and the sound of this incredible room and the energy of the audience is palpable. Close your eyes, tune in and you can almost imagine you’re sitting within the hallowed walls of one of the world’s most iconic venues. Expect high energy, intensity, technical brilliance, effervescent joy and a snapshot of one of the world’s greatest saxophonists in his element.

1. You Gotta Move
2. Nozani Na
3. Blood Count
4. Klactoveedsedstene
5. Olha Maria
6. Got the Keys to the Kingdom

Chris Potter – tenor saxophone
Craig Taborn – piano
Scott Colley – bass
Marcus Gilmore – drums

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