Saxophonist Chris Potter, who has been featured on several ECM albums by his mentor Dave Holland as well as a collaboration with Paul Motian and Jason Moran, makes his ECM debut as a leader with "The Sirens." The disc features a cycle of original compositions by Potter inspired by Homer's The Odyssey. "I'd re-read The Odyssey after many years and was inspired to write music with that epic, mythic mood in mind," Potter explains. "The stories are ancient but human emotions never change...and nothing's more human than melody." The pieces are conveyed by a subtly virtuosic, strikingly textured band which includes pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland.Throughout his life and career, Christian Howes has thrived on venturing outside of his comfort zone. He's taken the violin into the relatively unexplored territory of modern jazz, combining classical training with soulful expressiveness; and he's been on the vanguard of digital-age entrepreneurship with his online classes and virtual string orchestra. For his new CD -- Southern Exposure" -- Howes takes another unexpected turn, this time into the realm of Latin music, exploring a diverse range of repertoire from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Spain. His chief companion on the journey is French accordion master Richard Galliano, buoyed by the smoking rhythm section of bassist Scott Colley, drummer Lewis Nash and pianist Josh Nelson.