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The Dreamer Is the Dream
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For his third ECM release as a leader, Chris Potter presents a new acoustic quartet that naturally blends melodic rhapsody with rhythmic muscle. The group includes superlative musicians well known to followers of ECM s many recordings from New York over the past decade: keyboardist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore, who each shine in addition to the leader on multiple horns. The Dreamer Is the Dream features Potter on tenor saxophone the instrument that has made him one of the most admired players of his generation in the striking opener Heart in Hand and such album highlights as Yasodhara, as well as on soprano sax (Memory and Desire) and bass clarinet (the title track). Potter is an artist who employs his considerable technique in service of music rather than spectacle, says The New Yorker, and his composing develops in texture and atmosphere with every album. Along with his previous ECM releases, Imaginary Cities and The Sirens, he has appeared on some of the label's most acclaimed discs, including Paul Motian's classic Lost in a Dream and Dave Holland's Grammy Award-winning What Goes Around.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Dreamer is the Dream's recorded performances are more subdued and less visceral than the ones that appeared on, say, 2013's The Sirens. Some would consider that an unfair comparison, as that volcanic album had a quintet for the ages. As his first ECM album as a leader, a precedent had unquestionably been set. For this album, Potter, keyboardist David Virelles, double-bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore have created similar textures with one less band member but entirely different atmospheres. There's amazingly very little of the mystery and melancholy the label is known for. In a breathless 50:08, all players are given considerable solo space. Potter's tenor playing ranges from the reflective ruminations of "Heart in Hand" to the over-the-top complexities of "Ilimba" and "Yasodhara". The title track's bass clarinet opening is sure to elicit a smile, but it's "Memory and Desire" that offers this album's biggest surprises. Opening with spooky samples as a free improv piece, it soon metamorphoses into a soprano sax ballad before building to a jaw-dropping multi-tracked climax. After Potter, it's Virelles's playing that impresses the most: he can be heard doubling the tricky sax lines throughout the album, and his heavy, dissonant chords on "Yasodhara" are a true highlight. Don't overlook Gilmore's and Martin's extensive solos on, respectively, "Ilimba" and "The Dreamer is the Dream".
The album closes on a high-note: the rhythmic "Sonic Anomaly", where everyone can be heard just plain having a good time while banishing all memories of ECM austerity from consideration. Those approaching this album looking for an all-time masterpiece or a ground-breaking statement for the ages may come away disappointed, but as always with Chris Potter, your listening investment will be repaid for many years to come. And for those grumbling about the (relatively) short run-time, don't forget that LP's are back and not every (in actuality, very few) recording session is worthy of a two-record set.
Potter is a great saxophonist, one of the best, who has also tried, successfully, to make not only pure jazz but also more intricate musics, now in this new album ECM returns to simplicity, from his magnificent start ballad " Heart in Handa "to the end" Sonic Anomaly "makes a complete statement of what the Quwe is for today. A multitude of facets of the same truth. If in previous recordings we have witnessed an evident expasion here we are witnessing an instrospection more than evident, less bombastic but more intimate and true. Music to immerse yourself in it totally. Great record with great musicians David Virelles on piano, Joe Martin, on bass and Marcus Gilmore on percussion. The return to the format of quartet makes all this process more truthful, but evident