Counterstream Radio
New Music Streaming 24/7
New Music Playlists
Browse Music, Video, Interviews and more.

Heritage/Evolution: PRISM Quartet with Ravi Coltrane and Chris Potter

The saxophone’s dual history in classical music and jazz inspires commissions that chart new musical territory.

The Latest Update


Posted on November 6, 2015 by PRISM Quartet, Inc.

We just posted pics from our rehearsals and recording session with Ravi and Chris. It’s fun to look back on this amazing collaboration. Thanks again New Music USA!


More Updates ▼


Posted on September 7, 2015 by PRISM Quartet, Inc.

We were thrilled to premiere Chris and Ravi’s new works in June 2015 at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia and Symphony Space (Thalia) in NYC. We recently posted video of the NYC concert on PRISM’s YouTube channel. Check out Chris’ “Improvisations.” You can find Ravi’s “Tones for M” at https://youtu.be/ec4RnMf7hYw.

Although not part of our New Music USA project, we also recorded both works at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn for an upcoming PRISM CD that we intend to release in late 2016. Working with Chris and Ravi was a dream come true. Many thanks to New Music USA for making it possible!

Heritage/Evolution Concert Dates Set

Posted on December 13, 2014 by PRISM Quartet, Inc.

It’s offcial. PRISM just announced its 2015 Philly and NYC concert series, which includes the Heritage/Evolution project with Ravi Coltrane and Chris Potter.

June 9, 2015: Painted Bride Arts Center

June 10, 2015: Symphony Space (Leonard Nimoy Thalia)

Visit www.prismquartet.com/concerts to learn more about the program, see & hear music from PRISM and our guest artists, and purchase tickets.


Heritage/Evolution is an adventurous project in which PRISM, a leading saxophone quartet rooted primarily in classical music, will commission, premiere, and record works by two prominent jazz saxophonists/composers: Ravi Coltrane and Chris Potter.

Taking inspiration from the saxophone’s dual history in classical music and jazz, Heritage/Evolution seeks to create a body of work that charts new musical territory. PRISM, Coltrane, and Potter will perform commissioned works on a single program in June 2015 at World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) and Symphony Space (NYC). Panel discussions and community outreach programs will heighten impact. A CD of commissions will be released/distributed by Innova Recordings.

Perhaps no instrument better symbolizes jazz than the saxophone, yet its roots in classical music are formidable, if little-known. In the 1840s, the French military commissioned Adolphe Sax to create an instrument with the flexibility of a woodwind and the sonority/projection of a brass instrument. A century later, Marcel Mule established a proud tradition of classical saxophone performance in France during his tenure at the Paris Conservatory (1942–1968). In 1953, Larry Teal became the first full-time professor of saxophone at an American university (the University of Michigan). One of his most accomplished students, Donald Sinta, succeeded him, mentoring students who formed PRISM in 1984.

The saxophone was also championed by artists who altered the course of jazz, from Charlie Parker, the foremost figure in the development of be-bop in the early 1940s, to Ornette Coleman, whose work in free jazz beginning in the late 1950s broke down conventions of harmony and rhythm. The jazz sax evolved at a breakneck speed as John Coltrane and his contemporaries continued to redefine the art form, inspiring generations of jazz artists who followed. Heritage/Evolution extends Coltrane’s legacy by joining PRISM with his son, Ravi, who has established a distinctive voice and attracted critical acclaim as a tenorist/composer; and Potter, one of the most sought after saxophonists working today, whose artistry reflects the energy and innovation of John Coltrane’s playing.

Composer statements:

Potter: “Heritage/Evolution’s framework is rooted in the very invention of jazz. African American artists in the early 20th century synthesized harmonic elements of European music and African rhythms to form a new musical language. I hope to create a work that examines the cultural/racial blending embedded in jazz’s DNA, and in much subsequent classical music that fell within its sphere. I’m not interested in a simple fusion or cross-over piece, but rather a deep integration of traditions, with the goal of expanding the saxophone’s sound world.”

Coltrane : “At every moment, we are drawing on these two traditions, reconciling and hybridizing elements of African and Western European music. Still, there is always room to turn the paradigm on its side. My music-making these days grows out of a deep interest in psychology, especially temperament of and between players… My work will also explore the many facets of counterpoint—the idea of strange bedfellows (classical and jazz saxophonists) being in constant dance, but maintaining a fierce independence.”

Start and End Dates



Philadelphia and NYC, Pennsylvania

3 updates
Last update on November 6, 2015

Project Created By

NYC and Philly
Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. PRISM seeks to place the saxophone in unexpected contexts, chart fresh musical territory, and to challenge, inspire, and move audiences. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), PRISM was…

In Collaboration With

Guest composer/saxophonist
Guest composer/saxophonist


One response to “Heritage/Evolution: PRISM Quartet with Ravi Coltrane and Chris Potter”

  1. Michael Moss says:

    Thanks, Ravi, for donating your father’s ribbon mic to Systems II where I recorded “Intervals.” Generous and a way to pass on music of the ancestors.

Leave a Reply