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Chris Potter: Raising the Bar

Chris Potter
Chris Potter

Sometimes it takes quite a while to register a tick on the jazz richter scale. For the fortunate few, the payoff comes more suddenly. Like bonus babies in pro sports, they get signed out of high school and hyped overnight. The corporate machine rolls swiftly for them, opening up doors (radioplay) and creating the kind of visibility (festival appearances, endorsements) that might be unattainable to the average struggling jazz musician. They get featured prominently in jazz magazines and inevitably place high in the readers polls. Their latest cds are automatically included at the listening stations in Tower, HMV and Virgin and their product is stocked deeply in the bins at K-Mart, Walmart and all the marts across America.

Others take a more circuitous route to notoriety. They sign with lower profile record companies and quietly go about the business of developing their craft while scoring invaluable sideman gigs along the way. Their CDs are not readily available at record stores outside major metropolitan areas and their names are not exactly on the lips of even the most astute jazz fan, let alone the casual listener.

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