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.

Leopold’s Turn: Leopold Mozart Turns 300

The following is a guest post from Music Reference Specialist Robert Lipartito. November 14 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Johann Georg Leopold Mozart, composer, violinist, teacher, theorist, and one of music’s most famous stage parents.  He is best known, of course, as father, teacher, manager, archivist, and personal secretary of Wolfgang Amadeus […]

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You can’t beat the next two weeks of Concerts from the Library of Congress programming, during which we will offer eight musical experiences that showcase a breadth of artistry and perspectives. Here’s a quick run-down so you can make your plans: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7pm Montpelier Room, Madison Building “Diversity and the Birth of […]

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One year ago, I published a blog post declaring my excitement about a one-year countdown to Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday and highlighted Schumann’s manuscript cadenzas from the Library’s Whittall Foundation Collection, material that is digitized and available online. Now, finally, Clara’s big day has arrived! 200 years ago, in Leipzig, Germany, Marianne Tromlitz gave birth […]

Johann Baptist Wanhal and the First Viennese School

The mention of late-eighteenth century Vienna frequently conjures thoughts of well-known composers like Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. But since I joined a project reporting pre-1800 imprints and manuscripts to RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales, an open-access database that lets you see which libraries have a certain published score or unique manuscript), I would like […]

Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday

Since publishing Leaves of Grass in June 1855, Walt Whitman and his poetry have captured the American imagination. Not until the early twentieth century, however, did composers begin to draw from and set to music Whitman’s work in earnest. Today, 200 years after Whitman’s birth, his settings have inspired over 500 composers to write over […]