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Potsa Lotsa is the heart and soul project of the Berlin saxophonist Silke Eberhard, which has been appearing as the Potsa Lotsa XL formation since 2017. In the line-up as the wind quartet Potsa Lotsa (4), the musicians initially devoted themselves to the compositions of the African-American multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy (1928–1964), the result of this collaboration was the double album The Complete Works Of Eric Dolphy. With the septet Potsa Lotsa Plus, which combines the sound of six wind instruments with electronic sounds, Silke Eberhard subsequently performed Dolphy’s wedding music, Love Suite, which had long been thought to be lost. Beyond jazz, the ensemble, especially as a quartet, sometimes also performs modern classical pieces such as works by Giaccinto Scelsi and Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate in its concert program, often in collaboration with other artists. In the new XL formation, however, Potsa Lotsa only performs pieces by Silke Eberhard.
Potsa Lotsa XL [*2017]
What is jazz and what can jazz be? The first question does not necessarily have to be linked to the second, but Berlin saxophonist Silke Eberhard answers both questions at the same time with her extra-large band Potsa Lotsa. Her answers are complex and yet they go straight to your ears and stay in your mind.
The names not only read like a »Who is Who« of the current creative jazz scene in Berlin, but there is clearly a system behind the way they have been brought together. The band consists only of musicians with striking signature styles of their own, which they express with self-conscious restraint when they are integrated into a larger context. In this way, solos do not seem solo efforts, but rather come across as specific highlights in a collective group process.
Silke Eberhard is a subtle mediator between various arrangements from past and present, transmitters and receivers, as well as the intentions and obsessions of ten individualists who she purposefully unites in her compositions. Unobtrusively and with remarkable empathy, she sets the joy in playing over intellect as well as humility and respect for the material over virtuoso exhibitionism. »It is composed music, but everything is always allowed, and anything can happen,« she explains cheerfully.
Silke Eberhard’s music is exactly what she is. Its strength lies in its impartiality. If this music is called free jazz, it is not because of its structural freedom, but rather thanks to its inner freedom. It does not rise above other forms of music, but rather remains with all the 20 feet of its musicians firmly on the ground. And it is precisely with this attitude and its consequent abundance of sound that Silke Eberhard not only gives the answers to what jazz is in 2020, but also what it can become.
Potsa Lotsa Plus [*2014]
»When you hear music, after it is over, it is gone in the air; you can never capture it again.« /// This quote from Eric Dolphy from 1964 belongs to the classical repertoire of music commentaries on jazz. A short time earlier, Dolphy had taken an apartment in Paris. He was planning to marry his fiancée, the dancer Joyce Mordecai, there in July. Dolphy was working on a piece titled Love Suite… the work was apparently lost and remained a subject of speculation for decades. Now, fifty years after Dolphy’s tragic collapse during an opening concert in a Berlin club, Silke Eberhard recorded the Love Suite with Potsa Lotsa Plus in a studio of Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB). [Thomas Fitterling, from the Linernotes]
Potsa Lotsa [*2009]
»The complete works of Eric Dolphy — newly arranged, freshly interpreted, expanded by means of improvisation, and brought up to date for performance by Silke Eberhard and a quartet especially formed for the purpose.« [Bernd Noglik, from the Linernotes]
»… Arguably the festival’s most successful tribute was alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard’s Potsa Lotsa.« [Allabout Jazz New York, USA, November 2009]
»A reason why the group´s performance was so magical was that none of the members seemed intent on playing Dolphy but rather playing his music.« [Downbeat Magazine, USA, 2009]