The Celebrities: Saxophonist Chris Potter Finds Strength in Battling Meniere’s Disease

Renowned musician Chris Potter makes beautiful music, listened to all over the world. But the saxophonist has been left partially unable to hear his own music.

Diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease several years ago.  He has battled the symptoms since then. His bouts of vertigo inspired his 1998 CD Vertigo, which was such a huge success, The New York Times named it one of the top ten jazz CDs of that year. Critics have said the CD is one of his most expressive works, perhaps because it was inspired by something so personal.

As with many Meniere’s Disease patients, Potter didn’t know what was wrong at first. His symptoms began with sudden bouts of dizziness, accompanied by occasional episodes of vertigo. 

After undergoing several surgeries, Potter eventually experienced hearing loss that led to complete deafness in one ear. While some people might let that get them down, Potter found renewed strength and determination, going on to produce some of the best music of his career.

The South Carolina native emerged on the scene at the age of 13, gaining a local following at professional jazz events. He attended school in New York, where he began performing with legend Red Rodney. After working with Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band, he moved on to a solo career, where he began receiving critical acclaim and public attention.

In recent years, Potter has been symptom-free, something he attributes to keeping a positive frame of mind. Being positive was a source of strength for the musician and has helped him get to where he is today. Not only is the artist a solo success, he often collaborates with jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland. He even had the opportunity to play with Steely Dan at Madison Square Garden and in 2000, was featured on the band’s Grammy Award-winning CD, Two Against Nature.

Please remember to fill out our Meniere’s disease survey if you have not already done so.  Next month, I will roll out the results of the survey.