Chris Potter Circuits Trio: Sunrise Reprise
If the title Sunrise Reprise gives the impression that it’s a redo, a continuation of something that took place before, that’s somewhat true, but not in a bad way. In 2019, the renowned jazz saxophonist Chris Potter released Circuits, a bold session that expanded his reach as player and composer. Accompanied by two equally forward-thinking musicians, keyboardist James Francies and the unconventional drummer Eric Harland, Potter made a trio record that often gave the impression that there were more players in the room than there actually were. Some critics specifically commended the music’s expansiveness, others compared it to Potter’s earlier, fusion-informed Underground release, but more than anything, Circuits signaled that Potter was—as has been the case since his arrival in the ‘90s—a leader who considers restlessness a virtue. Sunrise Reprise brings the same trio back together for five sprawling jams, culminating in the near-25-minute “Nowhere, Now Here/Sunrise Reprise.” That piece, in particular, serves as a tour-de-force showcase of the high level of connectedness that comes naturally to these three. At the root, is an unyieldingly ferocious groove, powered as much by Francies’ synth bass as by Harland’s loose-limbed roving, skipping and dancing on the kit. Potter’s tenor is a mighty beast, always burly and bright. But even at his most investigative, Potter remembers to keep the melody close at hand. The consecutive tracks “Southbound” and “Serpentine” dip into funk, fusion and what-not for their basic ideas, head far, far away, but don’t stray to the point of no return. It’s an exciting listen, one that never gives itself a chance to become predictable.