• photography by ©Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

Saxophone titan Chris Potter marveled the audience at Jazz Standard, playing tunes from his indispensable new album, Circuits. With keyboardist James Francies on board and drummer Marcus Gilmore filling in for Eric Harland, the Circuits trio was granted a three-night performance at the aforementioned music venue and JazzTrail's lens captured them on the first one.

Hold It” was an ideal point of departure with an unaccompanied Potter emulsifying his tenor sax with delay effects. The impetuous eruption of the keyboards was no less than astounding, flooding the room with tension-filled chromaticisms and enveloping, inflated bass notes to shape a saturated, 21st-century electro groove. Whereas the exuberance of Potter’s improvised lines was strongly felt throughout, his instrumental versatility was on full display on “The Nerve”, when he switched from flute (suitable for an atmospheric intro along with samples of percussion) to the tenor (for the solo) and then to a zigzagging soprano (for the final act). Apart from embarking on unisons and reacting to some of the striking maneuvers of the saxophonist, Francies provided a luxurious accompaniment and even enjoyed a silky-smooth solo piano passage.

Even with half of the syncopations that Harland offered in the studio recording, which is understandable, it was great to see Gilmore reacting positively to the challenges. Celebratory vibes with sinewy funk-inflected manifestations, occasional Afro and Eastern impressions, and seamless electronic integration were consistently added, leading to a wide diffusion of energy across the packed room.