Saxophonist Chris Potter began his musical journey in the late 1980s with bebop veteran Red Rodney and laid the foundation for his current position as a leading light in jazz, sharing the studio and the bandstand with a staggering list of major artists including Paul Motian, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and the Mingus Big Band, to name just a few. From his star-studded debut forward, Potter has shown a singular focus and growth as a composer and improviser, moving deftly from acoustic post-bop to the fringes of experimentalism. For his new CD, “Imaginary Cities,” Potter leads the Underground Orchestra, an expanded version of his supercharged funk-fueled band Underground augmented by a string quartet.
Al Muirhead has long been an iconic figure on the Canadian jazz scene. His career has included work with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Guido Basso, Rosemary Clooney and Diana Krall. He’s been a first-call player for recordings, concerts, shows, studio, film, and television orchestras. He’s a much-sought-after arranger and musical director for undertakings of all sorts. The fact that it has taken this long for a recording to be made with his name at the top is due in the main to the fact that he has been so busy producing, writing, and playing for other artists’ recordings that he simply hasn’t taken the time do his own. That situation has been rectified with his debut release, aptly titled “It’s About Time.”
Also this week, Grammy winning composer and pianist Billy Childs and an all-star cast of singers and musicians reinvigorate the musical legacy of songwriter Laura Nyro on “Map to the Treasure,” featuring Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti and others; acclaimed Mexican pianist and composer Alex Mercado is joined by bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez on “Symbiosis”; and one Australia’s finest jazz musicians, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cunningham, is joined by world class trombonist Wycliffe Gordon in tribute to composer/arrange Neal Hefti on “Ain’t That Right!”