John Coltrane has been the inspiration for a number of musical considerations. Karrin Allyson's Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane
(Concord, 2001) was a brilliantly well-conceived thematic recording. The Marsalis brothers each released Coltrane-related thoughts in Wynton's Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra A Love Supreme
(Palmetto, 2005) and Branford's Branford Marsalis Quartet Performs Coltrane's A Love Supreme Live in Amsterdam
(Marsalis Music, 2004). Add the Turtle Island String Quartet to the mix with its A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane
The TISQ has already been plowing the field of string quartet innovation with recordings that include 4 + Four (Telarc, 2005). On that recording, the quartet interpreted Oliver Nelson's sublime "Yearnin' from his masterpiece Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1964). The Quartet has now extrapolated that sublimity to the music of John Coltrane. This is no silly attempt to cram Coltrane's square peg into a round classical hole. There is nothing Third Stream, fusion, or otherwise going on here. This is jazz, presented by four superb musicians and improvisers.
The listener will have no trouble recognizing this music as Coltrane's or music associated with him. The suite "A Love Supreme is engagingly played, summoning a string plainchant from "Acknowledgment, a gothic ragtime from "Resolution, a manic Le Hot Club du France "Pursuance, and a Celtic, Lisztian "Psalm. Also present are the usual suspects. "'Round Midnight is a crime noir soundtrack; "My Favorite Things is a beautiful reduction. The Quartet does not merely play Coltrane's exact notes. Instead it transforms the piece to a different musical plane of thought. "Naima is plaintive as a ballad, calm and soothing. Such a recording makes one wonder what the TISQ have up their sleeve next.
Personnel: David Balakrishnan: violin; Mark Summer: cello; Evan Price: violin; Mads Tolling: viola.