Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1

Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1

Visions of past and future, as seen through the prism of the saxophone
Steve Lehman
Dave Liebman
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Greg Osby
Tim Ries
Miguel Zenon
PRISM Quartet
Timothy McAllister
Taimur Sullivan
Matthew Levy
Zachary Shemon
Steve Lehman
Dave Liebman
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Greg Osby
Tim Ries
Miguel Zenon
Catalog Number: 
new classical
new music

Philadelphia, PA

Release Date: 
Jan 27, 2015
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
Heritage - Evolution, Vol. 1 (feat. Steve Lehman, Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Tim Ries & Miguel Zenón)iTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight16:36
2.The Missing Piece09:33$0.99
3.X Marks the Square12:00
4.Name Day15:22
5.15 Places at the Same Time: Line / Texture03:20$0.99
6.15 Places at the Same Time: Gesture / Rhythm04:16$0.99
7.15 Places at the Same Time: Solo01:49$0.99
8.15 Places at the Same Time: Radical Alignment03:31$0.99
9.15 Places at the Same Time: Afterlife03:17$0.99
10.Covenant of Voices17:12
12.Dear Lord05:05$0.99
One Sheet: 

“Every musical instrument tells many stories. In Heritage/Evolution, the saxophone takes center stage; its fascinating dual history in classical music and jazz leads PRISM and our guest artists through a collaborative process of discovery.” —Matthew Levy, PRISM's co-founder, executive director and tenor saxophonist.

Constantly in search of new musical terrain, the PRISM Quartet (Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, Matthew Levy, and Zachary Shemon) celebrates its 30th anniversary with a groundbreaking recording: Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1. The 2 CD set features world premiere recordings of new works composed and performed by six saxophonists who defy convention: Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Tim Ries, Miguel Zenón, Dave Liebman and Greg Osby.

Appending “Volume 1” to the title is a statement of intent: this is not a one-time project, but the first step in a major new initiative by the PRISM Quartet. Building on their own heritage, PRISM’s series of musical explorations documents an instrument and performance practice that continues to progress. Adolphe Sax’s signature invention has proven so versatile and adaptable that it has spread well beyond Europe. The past century and a half has seen the evolution of traditions of saxophone playing in India, in West Africa, in the Balkans, and in Latin America.

Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1 is a collection of distinctive pieces—a new fabric of saxophone repertoire—that draws on the instrument's cross-cultural heritage, blending jazz with Western classical music, and an eclectic range of folkloric traditions.

The saxophone’s evolution will continue. As evolutionary biologists have pointed out, these things don’t just happen; there’s usually an outside agent (climate change, the introduction of a new species into the ecology, etc.) that provokes big evolutionary moments. For the sax, the PRISM Quartet has been and still is one of those agents, tirelessly exploring the possibilities of this most versatile instrument.

Heritage/Evolution is dedicated to the memory of Michael Whitcombe (1962-2013), PRISM’s founding alto saxophonist whose artistry and vision shaped the quartet for over 20 years.



Album of the Month: “The lines normally separating classical and jazz worlds blur if not vanish altogether on an incredible collection that sees the classical playing of PRISM Quartet merge with the jazz playing and composing of the collaborators. … Anything but an oil-and-water proposition, the refined classical style of the quartet blends seamlessly with the jazz phrasing and soloing of the guests. … Here's hoping that the quartet's next installment will be as indispensable as the first.” [FULL ARTICLE]

"[A] superb a collection of modern, top-shelf saxophonists [whose] collective jazz pedigree moves PRISM from third stream to improvisational jazz without abandoning the quartet's classical roots altogether. ... Experimentation is a way of life for this group and on Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1 they have a phenomenal album filled with illusion, atmosphere and great music." [FULL ARTICLE]
Karl Ackermann

“Heritage/Evolution Volume One is the Prism Quartet pushing all-in on saxophone. … [“I Will Not Apologize For My Tone Tonight”] grows into a bubbling cauldron of activity, a sense of serious fun. This is common throughout the recording. … Zenón’s ‘The Missing Piece’ has a hymnal quality that radiates the beautiful and the sublime.  He shifts between a darting motion and a glide atop the bed of warm harmonies. Solemn and gentle. On the other hand, his ‘X Marks the Square’ has a celebratory tone as it sends joyful notes up to the rafters. The song becomes increasingly dense with intertwining lines and boisterous charm. … Lehman typically utilizes an unconventional method of beguilement, and that trend continues with his 5-part suite ’15 Places at the Same Time.’ The first part, ‘Line/Texture,’ is an echo bouncing off four walls of a room while chasing its own tail. Its alternating pattern of change and repetition is massively hypnotic. … With ‘Covenant of Voices,’ Osby returns the affair to a hymnal state, at peace with its surroundings, soft like a sunrise while the world is yet asleep.  This continues with Liebman’s ‘Trajectory,’ as well as his arrangement of Coltrane’s ‘Dear Lord,’ where even the spiritual fervency is expressed with a demeanor molded in reverential tones. … Heritage/Evolution Volume One is an album comprised of countless stunning moments, often quite breathtaking.” [FULL ARTICLE]

"If you seek immersion in immaculate articulated sounds from across the saxophone spectrum, this album is for you. It's hard to imagine any student of the instrument not being simultaneously enraptured and intimidated by the high standard of musicianship evident on this double CD. Prism's members are all formidable players, capable of anything from gleaming, vibrato-free purity to elongated rhythmic passages. ... [T]he entire album is like sitting down to a multi-course meal of double chocolate cake."
Bill Meyer