Heritage/Evolution Marathon with Melissa Aldana, Chris Potter, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Terell Stafford (NYC)





Guest Artists
Melissa Aldana, tenor
Chris Potter, tenor
Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto
Terell Stafford, trumpet

PRISM Quartet
Timothy McAllister, soprano
Zachary Shemon, alto
Matthew Levy, tenor
Taimur Sullivan, baritone

IMPORTANT: Please see Covid-19 Protocols below.

The intrepid PRISM Quartet celebrates the release of its new album, Heritage/Evolution, Volume 2 with a marathon concert at NYC’s DiMenna Center featuring sax giants Chris Potter and Rudresh Mahanthappa performing compositions from the album by Potter and PRISM’s own Matthew Levy. But that’s not all. PRISM also launches the third phase of its Heritage/Evolution project with new commissions from Blue Note recording artist/tenorist extraordinaire Melissa Aldana and jazz trumpet virtuoso Terell Stafford who join the Quartet as soloists on their own works. September 15, 7 – 9:45 PM at the DiMenna Center’s Cary Hall located at 450 W 37th St in New York City.

The Music
The PRISM Quartet’s massive Heritage/Evolution commissioning project explores saxophone’s dual lineages in classical music and jazz with 12 major commissions (and two albums) and counting from many of the world’s greatest jazz saxophonists. The concert features the world premiere of Aldana’s new work, Reflections. In her words, “Reflections is about transformation, a personal meditation on the stages of growth I experienced, and saw the world experience, over the course of the pandemic. My isolation and stillness enabled me to observe, clearly and for the first time in many years, the progression of the seasons, changes in the color of leaves, how they would fall just to be reborn stronger and more beautiful. My personal journey has been similar, as I worked though feelings of sadness, confusion, frustration, serenity, happiness and slowly transformed into the person I am today. I also wanted to know how other artists were expressing their feelings about nature, love, sadness, nostalgia, life… So I revisited some of my favorite poems by Julio Cortazar and Pablo Neruda, poems that resonate deeply with me and provided inspiration for my composition.”

Stafford contributes his own work to the program, “Favor,” a jazz waltz newly arranged by Jack Saint Clair. JazzTimes describes the work as “like fine whiskey, mellow but with bite” and “just a touch of churchiness.” The program includes Improvisations by Chris Potter and Forbidden Drive Matthew Levy from PRISM’s newest album, Heritage/Evolution, Volume 2 (8/13/21 release on XAS), and music by Mahanthappa, Tim Ries, and Miguel Zenón from the group’s critically acclaimed 2015 album, Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1 (innova), which AllAboutJazz gave five stars and called “a phenomenal album filled with illusion, atmosphere and great music.”

About Heritage/Evolution
Launched in 2014 to celebrate PRISM Quartet’s 30th anniversary season, Heritage/Evolution is an ongoing project that partners PRISM with master saxophonists who defy convention. Since the saxophone’s invention by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840, it has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences worldwide. Heritage/Evolution 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.

Covid-19 Protocols: Vaccinations and Masks
This concert is open only to fully vaccinated masked individuals. Anyone wishing to enter the building must show a proof of vaccination – such as a photocopy of a Covid-19 vaccination card or an Excelsior Pass – to the Front Desk receptionist. Musicians and staff members have been vaccinated.



Melissa Aldana






The Washington Post describes Chilean saxophonist and Blue Note recording artist Melissa Aldana as representing “a new sense of possibility and direction in jazz.” In 2013, at age 24, she became the first female musician and the first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. She is a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize. Her most recent album, Visions (Motéma, 2019), connects her work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before her, creating a pathway for her own expression. Inspired by the life and works of Frida Kahlo, Aldana creates a parallel between her experiences as a female saxophone player in a male-dominated community, and Kahlo’s experiences as a female visual artist working to assert herself in a landscape dominated by men.


Chris Potter






A world-class soloist, accomplished composer, and formidable bandleader, Grammy Award nominated saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. The New Yorker writes: “A tenorist who can remind you of Joe Henderson at his craftiest, he employs his considerable technique in the service of music rather than spectacle.” His collaborators have included Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, the Mingus Big Band, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, Ray Brown, and Jack DeJohnette. His 2020 album, There Is A Tide (Edition Records), was recorded during lockdown and features Chris performing all instruments, including piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, clarinets, flutes, percussion, and of course, saxophones.


Rudresh Mahanthappa






Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century, fusing jazz and the culture of his Indian ancestry to break new musical ground. Alto saxophonist of the year in seven of eight years running in DownBeat magazine’s International Critics’ Polls, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He leads several groups, including HERO TRIO, Samdhi, and the Indo-Pak Coalition, has collaborated with Bunky Green, Jack DeJohnette, and Kadri Gopalnath Danilo Pérez, and Arturo O’Farrill, and serves as the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University.


Terell Stafford






Terell Stafford has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. He has played with Benny Golson, Kenny Barron, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few. He is a member of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and can be heard on over 130 albums. Mr. Stafford is the Managing and Artistic Director of The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, Artistic Director of Jazz for the Philly POPS, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Jazz, Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University.



Name Day by Tim Ries: PRISM Quartet, Chris Potter, and Terell Stafford
Improvisations by Chris Potter: PRISM Quartet, Chris Potter, and Melissa Aldana


Forbidden Drive by Matthew Levy: PRISM Quartet and Rudresh Mahanthappa
I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR MY TONE TONIGHT by Rudresh Mahanthappa: PRISM Quartet and Rudresh Mahanthappa


Reflections by Melissa Aldana (world premiere): PRISM Quartet and Melissa Aldana
The Missing Piece by Miguel Zenon: PRISM Quartet, Melissa Aldana, and Terell Stafford
Favor by Terell Stafford (arr. St. Clair): PRISM Quartet, Melissa Aldana, and Terell Stafford


This program is made possible with generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.

DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018

September 15, 2021
7 PM

$30 general admission, $20 students and seniors

Box office contact info:
At door only on day of concert.