Ethan Iverson Trio MONK@100
with Chris Potter
& Houston Person
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | 7:00 pm
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Nearly four decades separate the exuberant Chris Potter and the sage Houston Person, but in Durham they share the same supporting trio. This double bill of saxophonists from South Carolina stretches across generations and styles. Potter, who moved to New York at the age of eighteen, has been praised by The New Yorker for “employing his considerable technique in the service of the music rather than spectacle.” Person left South Carolina as a young saxophonist in the 1940s, joined the Air Force, and was shipped out to Germany, where he joined a jazz band. A soulful giant with a round, gentle tone, he has released some seventy-five albums. None other than critic Nat Hentoff declared his recordings a desert-island necessity.
Though Ethan Iverson is best known for his groundbreaking crossover work with the Bad Plus, that trio’s remarkable catalogue only marks the second phase of a sterling quarter-century career. Iverson emerged as a major new player in the early 1990s, when he became an essential piece of a rising underground New York jazz scene. Around the same time he became the music director of the Mark Morris Dance Group, foreshadowing the ambitious routine he has maintained to this day. Iverson is a tireless bandleader, composer, arranger, and collaborator, and one of the best-respected jazz critics in the world. When asked in interviews who his greatest influence was, Iverson always says, “Thelonious Monk.”
In Durham, Iverson leads what he calls “a classic swinging New York rhythm section” custom-made for MONK@100 and the sequence of esteemed saxophonists the group will welcome over four days. Drummer Victor Lewis was a key element of the top-shelf Woody Shaw group for many years, and bassist David Williams was the lynchpin for an awe-inspiring trio with Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins for three decades. (Shaw and Walton programmed Monk frequently in their sets, and Walton once subbed for Monk at the Five Spot.) This trio is perfectly suited for the tremendous task of revivifying Monk’s music. Between the two of them, Lewis and Williams have worked with almost every significant modern jazz player, from Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard to Elvin Jones and Kenny Barron, not to mention such brilliant musicians as Carla Bley, Anthony Braxton, and Roberta Flack.MONK@100 is made possible, in part, with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation & the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. MONK@100 is an official event of the N.C. Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
“Potter stands as a singular figure among saxophonists of his vintage.”