Chris Potter, There is a Tide

I'm torn gathering my thoughts about this record. On the one hand how could you not be impressed by the sheer feat of one musician playing not only piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars and bass guitar but also drums, clarinet, bass …

Published: 28 Dec 2020. Updated: 11 months.

I'm torn gathering my thoughts about this record. On the one hand how could you not be impressed by the sheer feat of one musician playing not only piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars and bass guitar but also drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, percussion, throwing in a bunch of samples, and of course blowing saxophone.

On the other beyond the often lush melodies and occasionally but not always unerringly fascinating runs it's hard to engage with There is a Tide at a deeper level. In other words the sheer dynamism you usually get on a Potter record when he's leading his own bands just isn't the same. The cushiony sound feel (we have heard a lot of similar audio quality this year during Lockdown) doesn't help.

One of the world's greatest saxophonists it's probably just that I want to hear him play tenor saxophone exclusively in a more usual situation and wait until things are more normal again and leave it at that. Sometimes less is more. Definitely the robust lead sax line on 'New Life (In the Wake of Devastation)' is more in line with that desire. All in all a record that's easy to admire, harder to love. SG

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Film review: Soul

For cat lovers both the feline and jazz musician kind a film that has been hyped and early-reviewed for months and months Soul only came out on Christmas day. A child sees a film such as Soul with very different eyes than an adult. Ideally a child …

Published: 27 Dec 2020. Updated: 11 months.

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For cat lovers both the feline and jazz musician kind a film that has been hyped and early-reviewed for months and months Soul only came out on Christmas day. A child sees a film such as Soul with very different eyes than an adult. Ideally a child should be writing this piece. Yet Pixar films have always appealed to adults (Toy Story 2 from the late-1990s is still my favourite). After a fairly ponderous first half-hour the film began to truly get its ''spark''. The music, which was composed by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, actually doesn't figure as much as you'd think it would. However Tia Fuller who provides the real saxophone sound behind the hard to impress bandleader Dorothea Williams probably steals the show in the fictional Half Note when hero Joe (voiced very warmly by Jamie Foxx) finally fulfils his dreams and plays a significant gig after years as a middle school teacher as he attempts to come back from the dead. Favourite scenes? Definitely not the Great Beyond scenes unless you are a big animation fan and are content to marvel at the graphics, more the barbershop and tailor shop scenes where the characters take over that bit more and you get a sense of the film's great humanity. SG. Photo: Pixar