Happy Birthday Chris Potter

Photograph of Chris Potter (left) and Larry Appelbaum (right), 2019. Photo credit: Larry Appelbaum.

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.

2 Comments

  1. Jeff O’Brien
    January 2, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Chris is unquestionably the finest living Saxophonist. If you haven’t seen him, you should. I first saw him play with Dave Holland’s Overtone Quartet, with Eric Harland and Jason Moran. Best Jazz performance I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen many.

  2. Nicole R
    January 3, 2020 at 12:07 am

    I’m from Columbia SC and my parents were among Chris’s teachers. I remember Chris to be a kind person in addition to his remarkable talent. Hopefully I can see him perform the next time he is in the DC area! So pleasant to see this update.

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