This is tenor sax jazz juggernaut Chris Potter’s thing, this live version of “The Wheel,” a funky turn from Potter’s 2006 release Underground.
But last July he was on stage in some mighty fine company — the rest of his current Underground lineup: guitarist Adam Rogers; ultra-versatile Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes; and mighty mighty Nate Smith behind the drums — and yeah, it seems there are times when Chris Potter just likes to stand back and be thrilled along with the rest of us.
Craig Taborn on the Fender Rhodes, his crunchy left hand part of the reason nobody misses the missing bass. Prowling low with that left, burning with his right, trading breaks with Rogers whose supple lines goose things along with a quiet intensity. The guitar and Rhodes on top of and inside that solid truncated funk Nate Smith is ringing out.
Smith’s right foot is the engine. Taborn’s locked in with Smith, eye to eye and beat for beat. It’s all the more tight, all the more funky because it only takes two. When Smith steps out for his own muscular break he heats things up even more, and when Potter finally returns, ready to break loose, the stage is set for a truly fine finish.
Chris Potter’s Underground
Jazz Open Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
24 July 2009
“The Wheel” 10:55