Full concert available On-Demand from MAR 30, 2022 – MAY 13, 2022
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SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director Chris Potter and his big band perform his composition “We Wear the Mask” that sets the poetry of late 19th/early 20th century American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, with vocals by Gretchen Parlato, during Chris’ March 18, 2022 performance at the SFJAZZ Center, broadcast on Fridays Live.
The most commanding saxophonist of his generation, Chris Potter premieres an evening-length song cycle for his 19-piece big band featuring vocalist Gretchen Parlato – and Potter himself, as soloist. Since childhood, Potter has been enamored of big bands – their collective power and orchestral possibilities. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn have been his lodestars, along with Gil Evans. And like all worthy musical guides, they have inspired him to find his own compositional style, which is rich in detail, color, and mood. Potter is lyricist for a number of his new songs. Others are settings of texts by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Kabir Das, the 15th-century Indian mystic poet. Interpreted by an all-star band and Parlato, an exquisite artist, this ambitious new work is among the 2021-22 season’s highlights. And when Potter steps out front to solo, you can expect fireworks.