The Evolution Suite

Zoho Records, 2016

"Sussman has created a cohesive work displaying his mastery of composition and improvisation, filled with diverse rhythms and themes, splendid dynamics and also very beautiful moments, often supplied by Sussman himself on piano. The effect of this is thrilling.”


Richard Sussman's ground-breaking The Evolution Suite for Jazz Quintet, String Quartet, and Electronics is the culmination of almost a decade of development.  This five-movement, hour-long composition was funded by a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, and premiered and recorded on December 20, 2015, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space in New York City.

This is music inspirationally embodying the search for new worlds of sound, about finding new ways to reach welcome but previously unknown places in our hearts. Each and every one of Richard Sussman's partners in time for this journey to the unforeheard is a compellingly unique voice in this music as well.

The fiery eloquence of tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, who has been working with Richard since the late 1970s, is also a major force in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Maria Schneider Orchestra.  Perry's soaring solo during the deeply lyrical Second Movement, Relaxin' at Olympus, is one of the emotional highlights of the entire recording.

Richard's longtime musical colleague and fellow Philadelphian, Mike Richmond, takes a breathtaking bass solo towards the end of the powerful and genre-defying Third Movement, Nexus.  Richmond first gained international recognition through his outstanding playing with the bands of Stan Getz, Jack DeJohnette, Horace Silver, Gil Evans and the Mingus Dynasty, which he led from 1980 to 1985.  As always, bassist Mike Richmond helps to powerfully anchor the entire "Evolution Suite."

The astounding young violinist Zach Brock is a revelation throughout this recording, especially the trip his solo takes us on as we go to the "Nexus" in the Third Movement. Zack Brock is an important part of the present and future of our music, as are his fellow virtuosos, the members of the Sirius Quartet - Gregor Huebner, Fung Chern Hwei, Ron Lawrence, and Jeremy Harmon. The quartet does some stunning group improvisation and magical melding with Richard Sussman's imaginative electronic soundscapes in The Music of The Cubes.

Trumpeter Scott Wendholt and drummer Anthony Pinciotti are two of the most in-demand players on the current jazz scene. They make the beat sing and melody swing throughout this entire constantly surprising and totally engaging musical journey, with especially great power in the opening "Into The Cosmic Kitchen" and the surging Final Movement, "Perpetual Motion." All of us involved in this project are also deeply thankful for the huge ears and absolutely indispensable work of our supremely resourceful sound engineer John Guth.

"I've always sought to create my own artistic universe out of the many kinds of music that I love and have been deeply influenced by -- from Horace Silver, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, or Bill Evans, to Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, and Arnold Schoenberg, to James Brown, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Aphex Twin," Richard explained. "By combining jazz improvisation and many diverse rhythms and instrumental textures from throughout the world with contemporary classical music, I feel we can more truly reflect and more strongly connect with a wider cross-section of the multi-cultural society in which we live."

Todd Barkan, New York City
June, 2016

All compositions written, arranged, & programmed by Richard Sussman, ©2016 Richard Sussman Music BMI. The Evolution Suite was recorded live on December 20, 2015, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, New York, NY.

Richard Sussman - piano, electronics
Scott Wendholt - trumpet, flugelhorn
Rich Perry - tenor sax
Mike Richmond - acoustic & electric bass
Anthony Pinciotti - drums

The Sirius Quartet:
Gregor Huebner - violin
Fung Chern-Hwei - violin
Ron Lawrence - viola
Jeremy Harman - cello
Zach Brock - electric violin