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Chris Potter

One of the top saxophonists in jazz today, Chris Potter has a tone on tenor that can be as beautiful as Stan Getz’s but also an explorative style that sounds unlike anyone else. Born in Chicago on New Year’s Day in 1971, Potter grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. As a child, Potter played guitar and piano, before switching to alto; he was initially inspired by Paul Desmond and Johnny Hodges. In time he would master tenor (his main instrument), soprano, bass clarinet and flute. Potter was a bit of a prodigy, getting his first gig when he was 13. At 18, he played alto and occasional piano with Red Rodney, working on and off with him during the next five years. Potter moved to New York to attend the New School and the Manhattan School of Music. He worked with the Jazz Mentality and John Hart, making his debut as a leader in 1992 with his Criss Cross CD, Presenting Chris Potter. After guesting on a Marian McPartland CD, Potter signed with the Concord label, which gave him greater exposure. He worked with Paul Motian, Renee Rosnes, John Patitucci, Steely Dan, the Mingus Big Band, Steve Swallow, Joe Lovano, Mike Mainieri, Joanne Brackeen and Jim Hall. He also recorded with Kenny Werner, Ray Brown and James Moody, and his 1997 CD Unspoken featured him in a quartet with John Scofield, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. In 1998 he joined both Dave Douglas’ quintet and Dave Holland’s sextet and big band. Two years later he became the youngest recipient of Denmark’s prestigious Jazzpar Prize. In recent years, Potter has recorded as a leader for Verve and Sunnyside. When not heard with Dave Holland, Potter often leads his own stimulating combo.