Every generation has its saxophone heroes in jazz: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane all continue to inspire players in every style on just about every instrument. One of the great saxophonists and multi-instrumentalists of this generation is the Chicago-born, Columbia, South Carolina-raised Chris Potter. For the past three decades he’s been drawing attention for his ambitious, critically acclaimed recordings as both leader and sideman and he’s appeared numerous times at the Library of Congress; first in 2004 as part of bassist Dave Holland’s Quintet, then in 2018 in an all-star trio with Danilo Perez and Avishai Cohen and most recently as a Logan Foundation Jazz Scholar in June of 2019, when he spent time immersed in the Library’s jazz collections and reflected upon that experience in this blog post. That night Potter participated in a special panel discussion celebrating Billy Strayhorn’s legacy climaxed by his extraordinary unaccompanied tenor saxophone medley of Strayhorn standards.
Chris Potter turned 49 yesterday, January 1, 2020.