PRISM Quartet

Heritage/Evolution, Volume 3

Perhaps the most well-rounded — and most in-tune — saxophone quartet ever, PRISM turns 40 this year, with more than 300 commissioned works in its ever-expanding oeuvre. Those distinguishing qualities come into play prominently on the group’s latest, Heritage/Evolution, Volume 3. With Tim McAllister on soprano sax, Zachary Shemon on alto, Matthew Levy on tenor and Taimur Sullivan on bari, PRISM Quartet is a model of open-mindedness and artistic refinement. The saxophonists play with virtuoso precision and exhibit a level of interpretive judgment that comes with classical training and deep connections to jazz. Embracing a reverent, chamber music vibe, the ensemble coaxes the subtle, sophisticated beauty out of highly nuanced works featuring guest artists Tim Ries (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute), Miguel Zenón (alto sax), Terell Stafford (trumpet) and Melissa Aldana (tenor sax). Like previous Heritage/Evolution installments, this is a program of serious material that’s a true delight to hear, a colorful spectrum of compositions penned by Aldana, Levy, Stafford and Steven Sondheim. Heritage/Evolution Volume 1 (2015) included contributions by guest instrumentalists Steve Lehman, Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Ries and Zenón. For Volume 2 (2021), Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano and Chris Potter came onboard. PRISM makes art-music to suit any instrumental configuration or stylistic context, and the group clearly isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. In the coming weeks, PRISM Quartet will present its most ambitious project to date: Generate Music, a new body of work exploring the ties between Black and Jewish Americans. The project aims to form a musical narrative by including panel discussions, radio broadcasts and world premiere performances of eight new commissioned works by Yotam Haber, David Krakauer, Myra Melford, Diane Monroe, Ursula Rucker, Tyshawn Sorey, Susan Watts and Fred Wesley, who will use PRISM Quartet as the core of a larger ensemble with an overarching goal of exploring cross-cultural exchange. Generate Music concerts will take place June 8 in Philadelphia and June 9 in Brooklyn, with panel discussions happening May 28 and May 30 in Philadelphia. The project will conclude with a radio broadcast on WWFM and an album release on XAS Records in 2025. For more information on Generate Music, CLICK HERE.

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad