Prism at the World Cafe

Dazzling musicianship tonight from the Prism Saxophone Quartet with guest performers Greg Osby and David Liebman. The program included newly commissioned works by the guests. Here’s the whole group:

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(L to R: Dave Liebman, Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Taimur Sullvan, Matt Levy, Greg Osby)

and Liebman in full flight:

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Prism with Osby and Liebman

The Prism Saxophone Quartet has been presenting a series of concerts with commissions by leading jazz saxophonists, and one more is coming next week. At the World Cafe in Philadelphia, they will play music by Greg Osby and David Liebman, Wednesday, June 11 at 7:30, with the program repeated the next day at Symphony Space, in NYC, also at 7:30. Here’s a sample of a rehearsal – lots more videos on the project here.

Prism plays Straight Up

In 2004 I was one of 23 composers invited to write short pieces for a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Prism Saxophone Quartet. I reached into my files and took the basic musical material from a chart I had written for my undergrad school’s jazz ensemble, enriched the harmony a bit, added some dissonant counterpoint and a little cadenza, and produced Straight Up. The title came from a frequent conversational interjection by a trumpet player I knew back then, roughly equivalent to “no kidding?”, or “are you talking to me straight?” – a  possible reaction to hearing the piece.

Prism has recorded those 23 pieces for Innova, and to celebrate the release of the CD, they will play them in concerts in Philly and NYC. The Philadelphia concert is at the World Cafe this Saturday, May 29 at 7; the New York edition is at The Stone, March 31 at 10.

The list of composers is nicely diverse with respect to style, age, and so forth – here’s the list:

Tim Berne
William Bolcom
Zack Browning
Robert Capanna
Donnacha Dennehy
Dennis DeSantis
Nick Didkovsky
Jason Eckardt
Roshanne Etezady
Reneé Favand-See
Perry Goldstein
Jennifer Higdon
Libby Larsen
Matthew Levy
Keith Moore
Greg Osby
Frank J. Oteri
James Primosch
Tim Ries
Adam Silverman
Ken Ueno
Gregory Wanamaker
Chen Yi

(Hey, I went to a lot of trouble to get all those links, so start clicking.)

Video on Innova here.