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The Sirens is arguably Potter’s boldest, most persuasive recording as a leader to date. Most titles are references for from Homer’s ancient poem The Odyssey, an inspiration for his writing on the album. Potter is on sizzling form throughout [...] It’s Potter’s growth as a leader and his breadth of vision that come to the fore in the second half: while ‘Kalypso’ might highlight his debt to Sonny Rollins, the rapturous soprano sax-led ballad ‘Penelope’ and the title track, with Larry Grenadier’s arco bass and Potter’s bass clarinet’s ascetic, pure tone, brings things far closer to the kind of yearning European jazz soundscapes we are more likely to hear on an ECM album by John Surman.
Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise

The Sirens retains the distinctive muscle and firepower that's made Potter so vastly influential but, unsurprisingly, posits some new perspectives as well. It represents a return, after the saxophonist's last few years with Underground—which also (likely not at all coincidentally) included Taborn—to an all-acoustic environs, but if the idea of Potter in a more traditional setting with piano, bass and drums suggests something predictable, the wildcard here—beyond a stellar assemblage which is anything but predictable—is the presence of two pianists. Taborn—heard here solely on grand piano—is another rapid riser of Potter's vintage [...] His own ECM leader debut, Avenging Angel (2011), was an encyclopedic tour de force that ranks among the label's best solo piano recordings.[...] But it's David Virelles, a relative newcomer—not just to ECM but to the scene in general—who adds the difference that turns what would, no doubt, have been a great session into a positively stellar one. [...] . Here, contributing prepared piano, harmonium, and the chime-like celeste, Virelles also appears to be on a rapid upward trajectory, his interactions with Taborn particularly notable, the two engaging at a deep level during "Nausikaa" and in the ethereal album closer, "The Shades".[...] Through it all, there’s no mistaking this for anything but a chris Potter record, but with The Siren he’s delivered one unlike any he’s done before.
John Kelman, All about Jazz

Avec The Sirens, cet Ulysse du jazz cède enfin à l’originalité. Grâce à un quartet de studio dont on peut supposer qu’il rêve d’en faire une formation permanente, il offre neuf plages puissamment inventives, où sa technique dépasse l’impecable. Larry Grenadier et Eric Harland, paire rythmique insurpassable, se livrent à un jeu jaillissant, les pianistes Craig Taborn et David Virelles touillent les claviers avec superbe, de sorte que les saxophones de Potter, ténor ou soprano, et sa clarinette basse multiplient les éclats. Mais c’est quand même au ténor que chris Potter continue de s’affirmer comme le sax le plus excitant de la scène actuelle.
Michel Contat, Télèrama

Die Fabelwesen aus Homers Odyssee inspirierten den Amerikaner. Potter erzählt die Sage auf seinen Saxofonen. Dass er zwei Tasteninstrumente in seiner Band hat, ist ungewöhnlich: Zum Pianisten Craig Taborn kommt der aus Kuba stammende Keyboarder David Virelles, der mit Celesta- und Harmonium-Klängen die Atmosphäre des Album mitprägt.
Hans Hielscher, Kulturspiegel

His finest effort yet.
Nate Chinen, New York Times

Chris Potter ist der Saxophonist der Stunde […] während er uns bei Metheny mit seiner Virtuosität und seinem Einfallsreichtum ins Staunen versetzt, präsentiert er auf ‚The Sirens’ seine lyrische Seite und die des Komponisten. […] Seine Band mit Larry Grenadier (Bass), Eric Harland (Drums) und den beiden Pianisten Craig Taborn und dem Kubaner David Virelles (hier am präparierten Klavier, Harmonium und Celesta) ist nicht minder hochkarätig besetzt wie die Unity Band und begleitet Potter mit einem frei fliessenden Puls auf dieser faszinierenden musikalischen Reise.
Stefan Künzli, Nordwestschweiz

Taking his inspiration from Homer’s The Odyssey the saxophonist has come up with eight imaginative themes that have his personal stamp all over them, songlike and robust enough to withstand some pretty tough examination from his colleagues, a prime example being the albums opener, Wine Dark Sea.
Potter’s soprano is to the fore on romantic ‘Penelope’, and the gentle ‘Nausikaa’ while the title track, ‘The Sirens’ features bass clarinet coupled with Grenadier’s full toned arco bass before giving way to the impassioned cries of the tenor. And this is where the real drama unfolds, as Potter in full cry is full of invention; His tone moving from warm and tender to daring forays into the upper register. The wonderful ‘Kalypso’ courteously offers an acknowledgement to Sonny Rollins, but throughout the tenorist is very much his own man. Mention should be given the stellar band assembled for the session, with the two keyboards of Craig Taborn and David Virelles blending seamlessly to create the colours inherent in the compositions, and Harland and Grenadier a propulsive and responsive team. Another impressive album from Chris Potter, and one that indicates a new and fruitful path for future exploration.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views

Jedes Thema der aufregenden Session klingt wie ein vollendetes Tongedicht. Das liegt an Potters gravitätischem Tenorsax-Sound, mit dem er in bewegten Chorussen den Kurs durch die ‚Wine Dark Sea’ einschlägt. In der ‚Ilias’ locken Meeresnymphen mit ihrem verführerischen Gesang die Seefahrer ins Verderben. In Anspielung darauf kreiert Potter in The Sirens auf der Bassklarinette eine Melodie, die durch ihre dunkle Tongebung einen speziellen Reiz bezieht. Das gesamte Stück klingt geheimnisvoll, zumal sich David Virelles’ auf dem präparierten Piano erzeugte Klänge dazugesellen. Eine ähnliche Bereicherung sind seine wie ein Glasperlenspiel wirkenden Celesta-Einsätze in ‚Kalypso’, die Potters lyrisches Sopransax- Spiel untermalen und sich mit Craig Taborns Pianomotiven verbinden.
Gerd Filtgen, Fono Forum

Aus dem Nichts kräuseln sich spontan Melodien zusammen, greifen nach der Ewigkeit, um sich in einem anderen Nichts wieder aufzulösen – sehr poetisch, sehr stimmungsvoll, sehr nocturn, sehr fern und doch immer ganz nah und den Bezug zum Diesseits suchend. Dieses stück jazziger Kammermusik von Chris Potter klingt wirklich nach einer mythischen, verklärten Reise […] ‚Sirens’ ist Chris Potters erstes echtes Meisterwerk.
Wolf Kampmann, Eclipsed
His credentials are impeccable, his interests are varied, he’s open minded, he has total command of his instruments and he constantly pushes himself. On The Sirens, the first ECM record under is leadership, all of these factors come together to make an intelligent, often beautiful disc that brings me a step closer to adoration. Central is his choice of band, which includes the magnificently versatile rhythm section of drummer Eric Harland and bassit Larry Grenadier, together with pianist Craig Taborn, who’s proven himself one of the visionaries of the current wave. Potter’s notion of augmenting his core corps with another keyboardist, namely David Virelles, is nothing short of daring, and it proves to be a very successful surprise.
John Corbett, Downbeat

Manfred Eicher’s imprimatur, as well as his always-sparkling and realistic production, should help elevate Potter from his status as musicians’s musician and critic’s darling to the proverbial wider recognition as a sax colossus. This quintet studio session- with David Virelles adding unconventional prepared piano, celeste, and harmonium alongside pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Eric Harland – showcases Potter’s virtuosity on tenor, soprano and (on one piece) bass clarinet. The playing keeps your mind racing along multiple trails – some rocky and convoluted, some smooth and linear – leading through terrain that morphs at surprising moments from dense woodlands to wide open spaces. The musicians negotiate Potter’s thorny yet welcomng compositions, which nod subtly to his bebop roots but also advance into a post_Monk-and_Coltrane place with a view of Jazz’s future.
DR, Absolute Sound

Homer’s Odyssey is a natural inspiration for jazz musicians with its theme of a searching journey and all kinds of hazardous atttractions along the way. For his debut as a leader on the ECM label, one of the most acclaimed and respected saxophonists of his generation, and a worthy standard bearer for modern tenor playing, keeping the Michael Brecker flame aloft, Chris Potter has assembled a fine band for his own Odyssey. [...] Not only is The Sirens a triumph from a playing point of view, but it shows how strong Potter the composer has become down the years. This is possibly his finest achievement yet, and at the same time I’m sure it’s only another few steps in a longer, even more fulfilling jazz journey for both Potter and his growing number of admirers.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

...ce disque, où le saxophoniste joue de toute la palette du jazz contemporain, lyrique et tellurique, plutôt platonique ou carrément épique. Unde odyssée (Homère serait derrière) aux vastes horizons, à l’image des compagnons première classe qui’il embarque (C. Taborn D. Virtelles, L. Grenadier, E. Harland).
Jacques Denis, Jazz News

Well, how brave is it to take on Homer and his Odyssey in a modern jazz interpretation? Pretty damn courageous, I’d say. [...] Potter’s saxophone, as ably supported as Ulysses by his crew, tells all these stories and more. A very serious recording but a richly beautiful one as well. And are there more of the books of the Odyssey ahead?
Brian Arsenault, The International Review Of Music

Treibende Post-Bop-Nummern wechseln zartschmelzenden lyrischen Balladen, großes Drama mit zarten Stimmungsbildern – das ECM-Debut als Leader des 42jährigen Saxophonisten Chris Potter ist so abwechslungsreich und spannend wie Homers Meisterwerk. Nachdem er den antiken Klassiker wiedergelesen hatte, schrieb Potter wie in einem Rausch innerhalb von zwei Wochen de neun Kompositionen mit Titeln wie ‚Penelope’, ‚Kalypso’, ‚Nausikaa’, ‚Wayfinder’ oder ‚the Shades’, die als Songs ohne Texte zu verstehen sind. Durch die geschickte Verschränkung zwischen komponierten und frei improvisierten Passagen bleibt den erstklassigen Musikern viel Raum, um kreative Ideen solistisch einzubringen, umwerfend ist aber, mit welcher Sensibilität sie miteinander kommunizieren.
Peter Füßl, Kultur

In setting his impressions of this great epic Greek poem to music, saxophonist Potter has come up with a collection of tunes that certainly call the listener back, not just for their strong, quickly memorable , melodic qualities but for the improvisations and group interaction they inspire in supporting musicians, Craig Taborn, Larry Grenadier, Eric Harland and David Virelles. Potter is in danger of replacing the late Michael Brecker as jazz’s saxophone pace-setter, and you’ll hear why as he absolutely flies over the rhythm section on the opening track, Wine Dark Sea, maintaining a sure sene of structure all the while. However, this album isn’t all about technique. Potter’s intention was to tell stories and he succeeds magnificently, particularly on the title track where his slightly Jewish-sounding bass clarinet melody gives way to a bowed bass solo before his own tenor takes up the narrative. A thoroughly involving listen.
Rob Adams, Sunday Herald

Familiarity with Homer isn't necessary to appreciate Potter's compositions. These mood poems, like the episodes that inspired them, contain an endlessly engaging lyrical narrative, and emotional poignancy that speaks to the universal soul. [...]Homer wrote: "Each man delights in the work that suits him best"—a truism that resonates throughout this inspired and inspiring music. The Sirens will go down as one of Potter's best, but this is assuredly a collective triumph.
Ian Patterson, All About Jazz

Chris Potter’s take on Homer’s epic poem eschews the the portentous in favour of the auspicious; rather then being a tale of humanity enduring the whims of disinterested gods, this is a voyage of widened horizons and enlightened perspectives. It is Potter’s first abum for ECM as a leader following a long-standing role a as a first-call sideman for the likes of label stalwart and bassist Dave Holland. This set of originals is unusual in its deployment of two keyboardists, although pitting a piano against a prepared counterpart, a celeste and a harmonium is unlikely to muddy the waters and doesn’t. Potter’s own playing, particularly on soprano and bass-clarinet, simply takes wing and flies in graceful but also mischievous melodic arcs, busily ornamented and acommodatingly spacious by turns.
Roger Thomas, BBC Music Magazine

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