Review - Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard

Artist: Chris Potter Quartet

It might be his exceedingly pleasant demeanor or his boy-next-door looks, but the fiery beauty that tenor saxophonist Chris Potter coaxes out of his instrument is always a shock. Though academically trained, traditionally apprenticed (with Red Rodney's faux-Charlie Parker band) and willing to sell his skills to the highest bidder (Steely Dan), Potter is a sweet-smiling, aw-shucks iconoclast whose tenor skills will blister your brainpan faster than an Anthony Braxton calculus. This live set reiterates that fact, with Potter taking his solid, roots-based path into improvisational journeys that threaten to fall apart but never do. There are telephones beeping, squonks a-skronking, melodies outlined, grooves obliterated; it's beautiful because it's simultaneously inside and out there, with a muscular band that manages to keep it all together.

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