By Scott Yanow | Published October 2021
Prism, a classical saxophone quartet consisting of leader and tenor saxophonist Matthew Levy, soprano saxophonist Timothy McAllister, altoist Zachary Shemon and baritonist Taimur Sullivan, has commissioned hundreds of works through the years. Following up on its Heritage/Evolution Volume 1 double-CD from 2015, Volume 2 serves as intriguing music that falls somewhere between modern classical and jazz.
Levy’s “Forbidden Drive” has Lovano on tenor joining Prism as a fifth member, improvising on top of the quartet.
Potter contributed a nine-piece work simply called “Improvisations.” Five of the sections titled “Improvisations 1–5” were originally Potter improvs that he adapted for the quartet. They range from the conversational “Improvisation 1” and somber ballads to the hyper “Improvisation 5.”
Lovano contributed the seven-part “Super Sonix,” which features him on tenor and gongs, plus one movement apiece on alto, mezzo-
soprano, baritone and drums. He unhurriedly contrasts sound and silence on “Following The Sound,” sometimes utilizes dense harmonies and overlapping phrases, and gives the other saxophonists an opportunity to wail a bit on “Hipsters And Flipsters.” The unique and ambitious project concludes with Coltrane’s “Tones For M,” which contrasts his sopranino with Potter’s bass clarinet.
A highly anticipated Volume 3 of Heritage/Evolution will feature contributions from saxophonist Melissa Aldana, trumpeter Terell Stafford and others.
Heritage/Evolution Volume 2: Forbidden Drive; Improvisations; Super Sonix; Tones For M. (74:16)
Personnel: Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, soprano saxophone; Zachary Shemon, Robert Young, alto saxophone; Matthew Levy, tenor saxophone; Taimur Sullivan, baritone sxophone; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, mezzo-soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, drums, gongs; Chris Potter, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Ravi Coltrane, tenor, soprano, sopranino saxophones.
Ordering Info: prismquartet.com