PRISM Quartet with Joe Lovano at the Painted Bride

Victor L. Schermer By

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But—and this is the crux of the matter—my sense was that the jazz idiom was still housed in a museum-like structure, that it was referred to in the past tense rather than experienced in the moment. (It is not that the music was largely composed. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Charles Mingus' Epitaph are examples of through-composed music that is highly structured in the classical European way. But they are infused with the special ingredient that we call jazz.) Jazz is spontaneous, personal, flowing in the now. Somehow, with all the brilliance, complexity, and sophistication of this performance, it didn't quite make it into "the zone." The lack of that intangible called "swing" may have had something to do with it. I should add that this is not a criticism of Lovano or the PRISM Quartet. As Don Byron once said, "God doesn't care if it's jazz or not." It's just a matter of the mind set that the listener brings to a concert. More and more today, music should be heard in its own terms, not necessarily as a specific genre.

Set List: (All world premier performances except "Night Music" and "Duke Meets Mort") "Night Music" (Emma O'Halloran); Refraction (Reiny Rollock); Super Sonix: Following the Sound (Lovano); Forbidden Drive (Matthew Levy); Duke meets Mort (Robert Carl); Supersonix (Lovano) Sound Sculpture, Worldless Stories, Natural Beauty, On a Roll, Hipsters and Flipsters, Folowing the Sound.

Personnel: Featured Artist: Joe Lovano; Prism Quartet Saxophones: Timothy McAllister, soprano; Zachary Shemon, alto; Matthew Levy, tenor; Taimur Sullivan, baritone.
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