Malcolm Potter, My Inspirations Review
by Roland Freerier
Malcolm Potter is a vocalist and double bass player that has performed on stage or recorded with many jazz and blues artists. Potter has also worked on numerous movie scores, advertisements, cartoons, children’s tales, and many albums as a sideman, musical director, producer, or arranger. My Inspirations is Potter taking a new and courageous approach…an original sound that’s easily accessible, influenced by the colors and shapes of his influences from all genres of music. Potter rearranges songs from various artists that have inspired him musically to make up the songs on My Inspirations.
Prince’s “Kiss” caught my attention the minute I spied it on the playlist. The opening bass solo is terrific; Potter’s feel and intonation are conveyed with style. Even the effects on the bass bring richness to the arrangement. On hearing Potter’s singing, I was instantly on the fence with his tone and timbre. However, his ideas and interpretation of the melody are all instantly likable. The band plays perfectly in supporting Potter’s vocal explorations. Dan Dumon’s guitar playing fits the song’s arrangement color and delivers enough blues and jazz to make it believable.
Don Fagen’s “Maxine” has an appropriate nylon-strung guitar intro, which is beautifully performed, but I am not a fan of the mix; too bright and focused on the upper end of the guitar’s sonic spectrum for my taste. Again, I enjoy the embellishments and note choices that Potter makes while interacting with the melody. However, I am still on the fence about his tone and timbre. Potter’s bass tone, on the other hand, is gorgeous.
My Inspirations is an interesting collection of covers by a gifted ensemble and Potter’s vocals. I have listened regularly to the album, and I can not get comfortable with Potter’s tone. However, his note choices are good, and his phrasing is always surprising. My Inspirations will interest singers and instrumentalists for ideas for new jazz arrangements of these iconic songs, and that alone is worth the price of admission.