Music for Saxophones: Heritage/Evolution

PRISM Quartet



David Liebman. Photo by Sune Andersson.


Tim Ries. Photo by Ans van Heck.


Greg Osby. Photo by Kata Kozma.

This 30th-anniversary project was PRISM's most ambitious to date, consisting of six new commissions and world premiere performances by prominent jazz saxophonists/composers: Fulbright scholar Steve Lehman; David Liebman, a 2011 NEA Master of Jazz; Rudresh Mahanthappa, DownBeat's 2012 alto saxophonist of the year; Pew Fellow Greg Osby; Tim Ries, a former PRISM member; and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón. By working closely with these major figures in jazz, PRISM—an ensemble rooted in classical music—created a new body of work that consciously blends divergent saxophone worlds and that challenged all parties to fulfill a common vision. PRISM performed the commissioned works with the composers at three concerts at Philadelphia's World Café Live in spring 2014 and three concerts at New York City's Symphony Space, with a follow-up recording on Innova Records, to be released in October 2014. All three Philadelphia concerts were broadcast by Temple University's WRTI station, and were paired by post-concert discussions with jazz critic Tom Moon and symposia moderated by John Schaefer, host of WNYC's Soundcheck.