• Claire Stefani
  • Chris Potter

For nearly two decades Chris Potter has been one of the most dominant, technically dazzling reedists in jazz, a stylistically curious powerhouse whose easy adaptability and range have made him a favorite of bandleaders from Dave Holland to the late Paul Motian. As a bandleader he’s excelled with both rigorous postbop and the texture-heavy, groove-oriented approach of his band Underground—no wonder music students flock to his concerts in droves. Yet as much as I’ve admired his skill and power, Potter’s music has often left me feeling indifferent. It wouldn’t be fair to say he’s just a technical wizard with no soul, because I can feel him pouring himself into his playing, and his various experiments over the years have felt like sincere manifestations of his curiosity.