Send in the Clowns

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PRISM Quartet
Miguel Zenón, alto saxophone

Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim, Arr. Matthew Levy
PRISM Quartet with Miguel Zenón

From the PRISM Quartet album, Heritage/Evolution, Vol. 3

Press Release:
Read the press release.

Executive Producer; Editing/Mixing/Mastering: Matthew Levy
Produced by PRISM Quartet: Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Matthew Levy, Taimur Sullivan
Recorded at Elm Street Studios, Conshohocken, PA
Lead Session Engineer: John O. Senior
Assistant Engineer: Nancy Kimmons
Additional recording at The Bunker, Brooklyn, NY
Session Engineer: Aaron Nevezie
Artwork/Design: Jon Rohrer,


Record Label / Catalogue Number:
XAS 120

Release Date:
March 08, 2024

One Sheet

Notes by Matthew Levy

I first fell in love with Stephen Sondheim’s music as a teenager in Philly, when my Central High School Jazz Band played an arrangement of his classic ballad “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music. Years later, I came across the sheet music for “Clowns” and decided to re-imagine it in an all-saxophone adaptation for my PRISM Quartet and featuring one of my favorite jazz artists, Miguel Zenón. I stayed true to the melody, but treated the accompaniment as a series of variations, creating counter-melodies, re-harmonizing sections, and even adding a cadenza for Miguel’s soulful alto.

I sent the manuscript and a rough recording to Mr. Sondheim for feedback. He wrote back, “I love it,” and even suggested a few tweaks. I must admit to having changed one note in the melody, a nod to Barbra Streisand’s interpretation. He asked me to restore that note, but encouraged me to “trickle in a couple more dissonances” of my own. Sadly, he passed before we were able to record the final version. His music always stays with me.