Chris Potter kicks off Village Vanguard sting with David Virelles, Marcus Gilmore, Joe Martin

© Dave Kaufman. All Rights Reserved. [via] The quartet at NYC Winter Jazzfest last year.

Chris Potter’s new album The Dreamer Is The Dream is out on ECM Records, and to enhance its release, the saxophonist has employed the incredibly talented rhythm section for six nights at the Village Vanguard. Interestingly enough, the band only played one song off of the new release during the late set of the opening night, opting to test out even newer material instead. The cuts were exciting and involved as David Virelles, Marcus Gilmore and Joe Martin smashed their instruments along to Potter’s left-field compositions.

Virelles has become one of the most interesting and acclaimed piano players in the jazz circuit, and his performance on Tuesday night proved exactly why: he’s both a compatible back-up to Potter’s ravishing sax, and one of the most interesting soloists when it’s his time. He’s far from indulgent with his solos, but uses his time wisely, peppering in Cuban influence into the experimental downtown jazz.

Gilmore has been a darling of the NYC jazz scene since he was a teenager, sitting in with grandfather Roy Haynes at the Blue Note and what not. Family ties aside, he’s one of the most exhilarating players to listen to, and his ability to inject soul and human feeling into otherwise robot-precise rhythms is astounding, time and time again.

Martin captivated the room during a lengthy bass solo that received a raucous applause, but otherwise accompanied the very heavy lineup with the low-end wonderfully.

Potter, of course, shined the brightest, which is an incredibly challenging feat to accomplish given the band he assembled. He’s a versatile player that can play both technical and emotional parts, teetering from simple tasters to complex head-spinners, but mostly spending time on the headier tricks.

As the band churned through a selection of mostly unreleased tunes, it’s clear that The Dreamer Is The Dream isn’t the last we’ll hear from this all-star band. The quartet plays through Sunday night at The Village Vanguard, with 2 shows nightly. Tickets available here.

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