Saxophonist Chris Potter’s spiraling relevance within global jazz circles as a brilliant improviser who seamlessly merges power with finesse, shines here. But the differentiator resides within the strings/horns large ensemble framework, which provides a disparate angle and musical state of mind. And to a large extent this endeavor can be viewed as a radical departure from what we’ve come to expect, given the saxophonist’s discography that includes more conventional jazz ensemble fare.
Potter’s corpulent tone and vast expressionism remains intact throughout. Yet with strings and horns in the mix, he engages a multi-layered fabric of sound sculpting that communicates heartening sentiment with power-packed jazz motifs. These works integrate into a sequence of storylines that often project a cinematic flair. In addition, the band generally abides by a forward-moving impetus with subtle breaks in the action, where violinist Mark Feldman and others generate ornamentation amid mood-evoking outbreaks. No doubt about it, this is a team effort and not one of those lush, third-stream symphonic jazz showcases. For example on "Closer To The Sun," the strings section conjures up a notion of anticipation or elements of the unknown via budding staccato lines. To that end, each musician partakes in the colorific aspects of the broad musical spectrum.
It’s an interweaving sojourn, where Potter’s yearning lines during "Song For Anyone," rides atop a spacious and rather simple bass and drums groove. These passages convey great depth via a polytonal outlook that is not staid or falls into a sense of complacency. It’s a divergent mix indeed, where Potter tosses a bit of gospel into the tenth piece "All By All," as he soars skyward amid melodic enhancements and soft ensemble-based overlays. Nonetheless, this album serves as a testament to Potter’s breadth, ingenuity, and seemingly, boundless musical faculties.