The Sirens is acclaimed saxophonist Chris Potter's ECM debut as a leader, an album of mood and melody inspired by Homer's The Odyssey - both its epic atmosphere and its timeless humanity. Potter, who has featured on many ECM albums by Dave Holland and Steve Swallow, as well as making a profound contribution to the contemporary classic Lost in a Dream with Paul Motian and Jason Moran, has composed a cycle of irresistible songs without words.
These pieces are conveyed by a subtly virtuosic, strikingly textured band: with Potter on tenor and soprano saxophones and bass clarinet, plus Craig Taborn (piano), David Virelles (prepared piano, celeste, harmonium), Larry Grenadier (double-bass) and Eric Harland (drums). Potter declaims lyrical lines over the dynamically inventive rhythm section, as the colouristic keyboards shimmer like stars in the night sky.
Music like that of The Sirens, with its open forms and an emphasis on lyricism, presents challenges. Potter says: "You have to know when to dive in, but also when to leave space. The musicians need to have strong personalities but also a certain maturity - and that's why this band is just what I needed. These guys are state of the art."
Since bursting onto the New York scene in 1989 as an 18-year-old prodigy with bebop icon Red Rodney, Potter has become a potent improviser and composer-arranger. The youngest musician ever to win Denmark's Jazzpar Prize, his impressive discography includes 15 albums as a leader and 100 sideman appearances. He has played or recorded with such leading names as Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Ray Brown, John Scofield and Dave Douglas, as well as with the Mingus Big Band.
Personnel: Chris Potter (soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet on The Sirens), Craig Taborn (piano), David Virelles (prepared piano, celeste, harmonium), Larry Grenadier (double bass), Eric Harland (drums)