PRISM Quartet

Heritage/ Evolution: PRISM Quartet with Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane at Symphony Space

Hailed by Chamber Music Magazine for “pioneering achievements of the highest order,” the PRISM Quartet presents the next installment of Heritage/Evolution, a groundbreaking project featuring world premieres of new works composed and performed by today’s most inventive jazz saxophonists. This time around, Heritage/Evolution spotlights PRISM with saxophone luminaries Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane. The program follows PRISM’s January 2015 CD release of Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1 on Innova Recordings with guest saxophonists Steve Lehman, Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Tim Ries, and Miguel Zenón.

Since the saxophone’s invention by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840, it has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences worldwide. The Heritage/Evolution project charts fresh musical territory, drawing on the saxophone’s cross-cultural heritage to blend jazz with everything from Western and South Indian classical music to Romani and Latin American folkloric music. Join us for an unprecedented saxophone summit as PRISM, a “bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times) partners with two master artists who defy convention.

Chris Potter on his new commission. “My piece, Improvisations, was conceived as exactly that: I improvised five short pieces on tenor saxophone, transcribed what I played, then orchestrated the music for saxophone ensemble. In this way I sought to hold on to the immediacy and unexpected quality of improvised music, created in a moment’s time, while also giving myself leeway to use the rich array of harmonic and orchestrational possibilities afforded by the more traditional compositional process. It has been said that improvisation is composition speeded up and composition is improvisation slowed way down (the musical decision making process differs only in the rate of speed), and I wanted to blur those lines even further with this piece.”

Ravi Coltrane on his new commission: “At every moment, we are drawing on these two traditions, reconciling and hybridizing elements of African and Western European music. Still, there is always room to turn the paradigm on its side. My music-making these days grows out of a deep interest in psychology, especially temperament of and between players… My work will also explore the many facets of counterpoint—the idea of strange bedfellows (classical and jazz saxophonists) being in constant dance, but maintaining a fierce independence.”



Chris Potter

Chris Potter is a world-class soloist, accomplished composer and formidable bandleader. The youngest musician ever to win Denmark’s Jazzpar Prize, he was named Tenor Saxophonist of the Year 2013 by the Jazz Journalists Association. DownBeat called him “One of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet.” His compositions draw on a vast range of music, demonstrating what Bill Milkowski called “a penchant for risk-taking and genre-bending.” Potter’s discography includes 15 albums as a leader and sideman appearances on over 100 albums. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his solo work on “In Vogue,” a track from Joanne Brackeen’s album Pink Elephant Magic, and was prominently featured on Steely Dan’s Grammy-winning album, Two Against Nature. He has performed or recorded with many of the leading names in jazz, such as Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, and Ray Brown.




Ravi Coltrane

Ravi Coltrane is a critically acclaimed Grammy nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. The son of John and Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane firmly established himself as a forward-thinking jazz musician with a strong musical identity influenced by, but set apart from, his father’s legacy. In the course of a twenty plus year career, Ravi has released six albums as a leader. His latest, Spirit Fiction, was released in June of 2012 for the Blue Note label. It was described by as a “new level of compositional and improvisational excellence…a complete, seamless musical statement.” Additional credits include performances as well as recordings with Elvin Jones,Terence Blanchard, Kenny Baron, Steve Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Geri Allen, Joanne Brackeem, and The Blue Note 7. He is a co-leader of the Saxophone Summit with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman, and founder of the independent record label, RKM.


PRISM Quartet: Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. Two-time winners of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 200 works, many by internationally celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. PRISM’s discography includes fourteen recordings for the Albany, Innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, and New Focus labels. PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the film Two Plus One and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.” PRISM performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces.

This program is presented with support from New Music USA; The Presser Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University; and Conn-Selmer, Inc. Inc. PRISM Quartet, Inc. also receives generous support from the Amphion Foundation, New Music USA’s Cary New Music Performance Fund, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., and individual donors.

Symphony Space
Leonard Nimoy Thalia, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025-6990

June 10, 2015
7:30 PM

22 general/$17 students Subscriptions Pricing: all three concerts (April 17, May 23, June 10): $57 general admission, $42 students, with ID. (prices include service charges) General admission seating.

Box office contact info:
(212) 864-5400