Friday, February 5, 2021

Potsa Lotsa XL, Silk Songs for Space Dogs


"Potsa Lotsa" is the name of a wonderful old Eric Dolphy work he recorded at the Five Spot with the legendary group he co-led with Booker Little in 1961. So if we encounter a band called Potsa Lotsa XL, it says something good about where their roots lie. And so too when alto sax-jazz composer Silke Eberhard heads up the Potsa Lotsa XL Tentet in the recent album Silk Songs for Space Dogs (Leo CD LR 878) I pay attention. After a bunch of listens I am glad to say good things about it here.

The tentet is made full use of in these eight outstanding Eberhard compositions. The band consists of Eberhard on alto, Jurgen Kupke on clarinet, Patrick Braun on tenor sax and clarinet, Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet, Gerhard Gschloshl on trombone, Johannes Fink on cello, Taiko Saito on vibraphone, Antonis Anissegos on piano, Igor Spallati bass and Kay Lubke on drums. These are not exactly super well known artists but forget all that and listen, for they congeal as a remarkable ensemble that swings and articulates the advanced charts with fervor and precision, and those who solo are accomplished and do not waste their chance to shine.

These are ultra-modern post-Dolphian charts of a beautiful complexity and expressive directness. They can groove madly and always sound somehow "authentic" and forward moving in the best ways. Every composition has presence and originally while they encompass Jazz Composer Modernist traditions and make them new.

The lining is expansively chromatic and harmonically advanced. Everything feels like it belongs together in the best ensemble complexities from Miles' Birth of the Cool through classic Mingus, George Russell, Tristano, Braxton, etc.

This is a real sleeper. Perhaps it is easy to miss but anyone interested in the top edge of the current scene will find this extremely interesting. Do not miss it. Bravo to Silke Eberhard.

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