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Traveling Mercies

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Album Review

Chris Potter gets more and more adventurous. On this follow-up to the strong Gratitude, the tenor and soprano saxophonist beefs up strong writing and heady group interplay with occasional sampled sounds and miscellaneous textures like clavinet and reed organ. True to form, he plays additional wind instruments — alto flute and bass clarinet in this case — and isn't afraid of overdubbing them to create lush orchestration, on tracks like "Snake Oil" and "Any Moment Now." On the haunting "Invisible Man" he even doubles the alto flute melody with his singing voice. Not until the fifth track, a Meters-like adaptation of the spiritual "Children Go," do you hear a 4/4 tempo; loping lines over odd meters prevail, with pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Bill Stewart expertly laying down the edgy grooves. (Like on Gratitude, Hays doubles on Fender Rhodes.) John Scofield contributes tart solos on three tracks, while Adam Rogers adds nylon-string and slide colors on two others. The sweeping, Metheny-esque harmonies of "Highway One" bring the program to a head, followed by a closing bass clarinet/piano duo on Willie Nelson's "Just as I Am." As a jazz record, Traveling Mercies is very much a product of its post-millennial times, but it still comes across as highly individual. Its value will be lasting. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Every Jazz Musician Needs to Know About this Man.

This is a wonderful CD along with his previous CD (Gratitude) and everyone should this CD. Chris Potter is flaunting his music, his innovation, and his style. Chris Potter and his all-star band of Kevin Hays, Adam Rogers, John Scofield,Scott Calloey, and Bill Stewart are sure to get your attention, even though probably not as much as Gratitude, or Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard. What I love about Chris Potter, is he gets an idea, and he sticks with it. Even if it's one note, he milks that note for all it's worth, then moves on. Chris Potter is along with Redman and many others, one of the most influential voices of modern jazz.

Chris Potter Rocks

Every single song on this album is fantastic. The grooves are all there and, without sounding like a pompous fool, Chris Potter's solos are incredible and unmatched in contemporary jazz. You can't tear your ears away from them. His technique and tone combination is the best I've ever heard but it doesn't crowd out the inventiveness of his lines and their pure melodic nature.

The only possible criticism of this album and his playing in general is that thus far he has only managed to skim the transcendant, uplifting, and emotional play that describes other jazz legends, particularly a fellow tenor, John Coltrane. As I said, he has gotten close, but not for a prolonged period. Whether or not he does this will move him from the best jazz player of our time to one of the best jazz players ever. Period.


This is a piece of art. Outstanding in every way. This is a must for anyones collection. Thanks for this one Chris!


Born: January 1, 1971 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Post-bop saxophonist Chris Potter quietly became one of the more sophisticated and respected stylists of the '90s and early 2000s, both as a leader and as a sideman in several prominent groups. Born in Chicago on New Year's Day 1971, Potter grew up mostly in Columbia, South Carolina, and started playing piano as a child. He took up the alto saxophone at age ten, initially inspired by Paul Desmond and Johnny Hodges, and went on to learn tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, and flute as well; by 13,...
Full Bio
Traveling Mercies, Chris Potter
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 17, 2002

Customer Ratings