A world-class soloist, accomplished composer and formidable bandleader, saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation.

A potent improviser and the youngest musician ever to win Denmark’s Jazzpar Prize, Potter’s impressive discography includes 15 albums as a leader and sideman appearances on over 100 albums. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his solo work on “In Vogue,” a track from Joanne Brackeen’s 1999 album Pink Elephant Magic, and was prominently featured on Steely Dan’s Grammy-winning album from 2000, Two Against Nature. He has performed or recorded with many of the leading names in jazz, such as Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, Ray Brown, and many others.

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Since bursting onto the New York scene in 1989 as an 18-year-old prodigy with bebop icon Red Rodney (who himself had played as a young man alongside the legendary Charlie Parker), Potter has steered a steady course of growth as an instrumentalist and composer-arranger. Through the ’90s, he continued to gain invaluable bandstand experience as a sideman while also making strong statements as a bandleader-composer-arranger. Acclaimed outings like 1997’s Unspoken (with bassist and mentor Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and guitarist John Scofield), 1998’s Vertigo, 2001’s Gratitude and 2002’s Traveling Mercies showed a penchant for risk-taking and genre-bending. “For me, it just seemed like a way of opening up the music to some different things that I had been listening to but maybe hadn’t quite come out in my music before,” he explains.

For more than two decades, Potter’s limitless creativity, effortless virtuosity and vibrant sense of swing has wowed critics, musicians and fans alike, who cite him as one of the most influential saxophonists and inventive improvisors of the modern day, a status that his first album for Edition, Circuits (2019) only enhanced. Chris has also collaborated with Dave Holland and Zakir Hussein on their Crosscurrents project Good Hope (2019).

‘Got the Keys to the Kingdom’ is the new album from world-renowned saxophonist Chris Potter, recorded live at the Village Vanguard in February 2022. Since joining Edition Records in 2019, he has released two albums with his Circuits Trio (featuring James Francies and Eric Harland), as well as the multi-tracked solo record: ‘There Is A Tide’. Chris’ latest album features an all-star band comprising Craig Taborn, Scott Colley and Marcus Gilmore, recorded live in arguably the most famous and revered Jazz club in the world.

The new record is bursting with energy – in the moment and free. The tracklist exclusively features covers, often simple, joyous spiritual songs walking a path between augmenting the music but not losing the rawness of the original. Reimagined folk tunes (Nozani Na, Olha Maria), powerful spirituals (Got the Keys to the Kingdom) and uncommon jazz standards (Blood Count, Klactoveedsedstene) make the final cut from the multi-night residency. It’s a tracklist that defies convention allowing the band space to explore with some melodies that may not be so familiar to fans of the music; as Chris says himself – “these are tunes people don’t usually play”.

The band plays with unity and spirit, injecting momentum and seamless flow. Craig Taborn’s majestic sheets of sound, Scott Colley’s earthiness and Marcus Gilmore’s fiery pulse are commanding and compelling when fused together with Chris Potter’s distinctive biting and nuanced playing.

There’s no doubt that Chris Potter is entering a new phase in his career; since the lockdowns brought a stop to his unrelenting schedule of touring, Chris has had more hours to practise and compose. The result is some of the highest level playing you’ll hear – with ultimate humility and character.

The album is situated within the historic Village Vanguard, and the sound of this incredible room and the energy of the audience is palpable. Close your eyes, tune in and you can almost imagine you’re sitting within the hallowed walls of one of the world’s most iconic venues. Expect high energy, intensity, technical brilliance, effervescent joy and a snapshot of one of the world’s greatest saxophonists in his element.

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Show dates calendar


  • July 2024
  • October 2024 (Circuits Trio)