PRISM Quartet

Real Standard Time

Real Standard Time features music composed by PRISM Quartet members Tim Ries and Matt Levy. Tim and Matt share a common musical bond, incorporating compositional techniques into their jazz writing that are typically associated with classical music. The result is a refreshing mix of improvisation, driving rhythms, counterpoint, changing meters, and rich harmonic voicing, all within a thoughtful architectural scheme that charts fresh musical territory by blurring stylistic boundaries.

Guest Artists:
John Riley, drums; Larry Goldings, organ; Ben Monder, guitar; Bob Ward, guitar; Franck Amsallem, piano; Tony Scherr, bass, Johannes Weidenmuller, bass; Eric Halverson, drums; Matt Wilson, drums.

Record Label / Catalogue Number:
innova/515

Release Date:
January 01, 2000

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Real Standard Time features music composed by PRISM Quartet members Tim Ries and Matt Levy. Tim and Matt share a common musical bond, incorporating compositional techniques into their jazz writing that are typically associated with classical music. The result is a refreshing mix of improvisation, driving rhythms, counterpoint, changing meters, and rich harmonic voicing, all within a thoughtful architectural scheme that charts fresh musical territory by blurring stylistic boundaries.

Like the early composers of classical music who were also accomplished performers, Timand Matt have the built-in advantage of writing for their own ensemble, in this case, the PRISM Quartet. This position allows them to exploit the individual musical personalities of the players in an intimate, subtle manner, fully exploring PRISM’s artistry. Since 1984, PRISM has been regarded as among the nation’s most versatile quartets, “exciting and virtuosic” (New York Times) and “able to move effortlessly between styles” (Philadelphia Inquirer). Perhaps no other instrument better symbolizes jazz than the saxophone, yet it is an instrument with strong, albeit little known roots in classical music. Real Standard Time brings these two genres together to offer an enviable range of moods.

Reviews

  • "The PRISM quartet offers a fresh update to the now long-standing tradition of saxophone quartet playing. The all-saxophone core rarely stands alone on Real Standard Time: instead, they draw upon an indie all-star cast of supporting players to round out their sound. When the group operates at its leanest, much of the material obeys formal arrangement and coordinated dynamics. However, as things develop, they break apart and segment into patterns of open improvisation and interplay. As opposed to groups like the World Saxophone Quartet, PRISM is less interested in the interface between swing and free jazz. Instead, they prefer to balance carefully composed progression and a more conventional straight-ahead style of improvisation. But the music on Real Standard Time remains unpredictable and open-ended; the inclusion of a spectrum of other players lends it a welcome sense of variety. Within the ironic context of "real standards," PRISM also offers a nice combination of purely original tunes."

    - All About Jazz.com March 1, 2001