Imaginary Cities is the recording premiere of saxophonist Chris Potter s
new Underground Orchestra. At the core of this larger ensemble is the
personnel of his long-established Underground quartet with Adam Rogers,
Craig Taborn and Nate Smith now joined by two bassists, a string
quartet, and Potter s old comrade from Dave Holland Quintet days, vibes
and marimba man Steve Nelson. The title composition is a suite,
panoramic in its reach, with movements subtitled Compassion , Dualities ,
Disintegration and Rebuilding . The scope of the work, and its
contrasting moods and thematic development, inspire some of Potter s
finest playing. His saxes fly high above his idealized cityscapes or
launch into dialogues or group improvising with its gifted inhabitants.
Four further pieces Lament , Firefly , Sky and Shadow Self extend the
feeling of the suite, successfully combining both tightly written
material and very open areas involving all members of the orchestra.
References are multi-idiomatic and multicultural, and Potter, who counts
Charlie Parker with Strings amongst his formative enthusiasms, had
Arabic and Indian string sections in mind, as well as contemporary
composition, when shaping this material. Imaginary Cities was recorded
in December 2013 in New York s Avatar Studio and produced by Manfred
Eicher. Release of the album is followed by US performances with the
Underground Orchestra in New York and San Francisco.