The Sirens

On a dreary winter afternoon, with fog embroidering the pine and fir trees out my window and a fire in the woodstove, I sampled saxophonist Chris Potter’s debut album as leader of a quintet that includes Craig Taborn on piano, David Virelles on celeste and harmonium, Larry Grenadier on double-bass, and Eric Harland on drums. It was the perfect music for such a day—atmospheric, contemplative and soulful. Potter is a gifted sax man, never quite allowing the listener to anticipate where he’s likely to go, and Taborn’s piano both drives the sax and embellishes it with sweet interplay and accents. As a composer, Potter knows how much the silences matter, and he’s not afraid to let a note linger. The titles of the compositions give a sense of the moods he creates. “Wine Dark Sea” is the first cut, and it would have gone just as well, or even better, if I’d been listening to it over in Mendocino. “Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers)” might seem like a pretentious title to some, but it’s a soundscape with roots traceable to Coltrane and Monk. Build your own fire, then meditate, ruminate, or simply find the groove in these jazz pieces by some of the better young players now in play.