Imaginary Cities (album)

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Imaginary Cities
Imaginary Cities (album).jpg
Studio album by
Chris Potter Underground Orchestra
ReleasedJanuary 16, 2015
RecordedDecember 2013
StudioAvatar Studios, New York
ECM 2387
ProducerManfred Eicher
Chris Potter chronology
The Sirens
Imaginary Cities
The Dreamer Is the Dream

Imaginary Cities is a 2015 studio album by American jazz saxophonist Chris Potter, his second released on the ECM label.[1][2] Featuring the return of his ‘Underground’ quartet with keyboardist Craig Taborn, guitarist Adam Rogers and drummer Nate Smith along with vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Scott Colley, bass guitarist Fima Ephron and a string quartet.


Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz[3]
All About Jazz[4]
The Buffalo News[6]
Financial Times[8]
The Guardian[9]
Irish Times[10]

The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 412 stars stating "Potter's writing on Imaginary Cities engages every aspect of his jazz palette. It embraces modern classical music as part of a striking whole. It is his most ambitious project to date, and arguably his most expertly articulated".[5]

The Guardian 's John Fordham noted "this feels like a work in progress with a fascinating future".[9] Jeff Simon writing for The Buffalo News commented, "The result is utterly spectacular, I think. It’s a disc that it is completely fresh and idiomatically only itself, with great solos all through it, not least of all by Potter on tenor and soprano saxophone and bass clarinet."[6]

All About Jazz correspondent John Kelman observed "with Imaginary Cities Potter has created the first real masterpiece of 2015. A profound paradigm shift for the saxophonist, Imaginary Cities suggests that the end point of Potter's potential seems still very far beyond the horizon".[3] Another review by Karl Ackermann stated "Imaginary Cities is an expansive album expressing divergent motifs linked together through a central theme. The septet is taut and adventurous; the strings impassioned and thoughtful and Potter's playing is his best to date. Though he emerged as a leader two decades back seemingly fully-formed in every creative aspect, he continues to evolve and surprise. Imaginary Cities is a superb album on every level".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Chris Potter

  1. "Lament" − 8:07
  2. "Imaginary Cities 1: Compassion" − 8:34
  3. "Imaginary Cities 2: Dualities" − 8:44
  4. "Imaginary Cities 3: Disintegration" − 7:23
  5. "Imaginary Cities 4: Rebuilding" − 11:33
  6. "Firefly" − 8:37
  7. "Shadow Self" − 6:09
  8. "Sky" − 12:02



  1. ^ Between Sound and Space, accessed January 8, 2018
  2. ^ ECM Records catalog, accessed January 8, 2018
  3. ^ a b Kelman, J. All About Jazz Review, January 6, 2015
  4. ^ a b Ackermann, K. All About Jazz Review 2, January 8, 2015
  5. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. Chris Potter – Imaginary Cities: Review at AllMusic. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Simon, Jeff (15 January 2015). "Disc reviews: Chris Potter, American Horn Quartet, Marilyn Manson,". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  7. ^ Toland, Michael (13 January 2015). "CHRIS POTTER UNDERGROUND ORCHESTRA – Imaginary Cities". Blurt. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  8. ^ Hobart, Mike (23 January 2015). "Chris Potter Underground Orchestra: Imaginary Cities — review". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b Fordham, J. The Guardian Review, January 23, 2015
  10. ^ Larkon, Cormac (6 February 2015). "Chris Potter Underground Orchestra: Imaginary Cities - Album Review". Irish Times. Retrieved 10 July 2018.