String group interpretation of jazz is nothing new. There have been several string quartets that have pursued this road, the Kronos Quartet and Turtle Island String Quartet just to mention two. Wynton Marsalis entered the “String Quartet” fray with his String Quartet Number 1: At The Octoroon Balls
(Sony Classical/Columbia 60979) released in 1999. Song of the Sun
finds long-time Max Roach bassist Tyrone Brown expanding the traditional string quartet form two violins, a viola, and a cello to a sextet of two violins, two violas, a cello and double bass. The current disc is made up of standards and originals, the latter being composed by several of the sextet’s members.
I found the standards more provocative than the originals. John Blake’s solo violin “All The Things You Are” is riveting. “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” gently swings as do all of the songs under the direction and steady pulse of Brown. All of the playing is top notch. This disc will appeal to those fans of the Kronos and Turtle Island String quartets.
Track Listing: Subterranean Dream; Eh-Leigh; Bittersweet Rendezvous; Song Of The Sun; All The Things You Are; Portrait Of The Artist; Softly As In A Morning Sunrise; Matador; The Tap Dancer; Peace. (Total Time: 65:34)
Personnel: Tyrone Brown: Bass; Melissa Ortega: Violin; Beth Dzwil: Viola; Nina Cottman: Viola; Ron Lipscomb: Cello; William Wilson: Percussion; John Blake: Violin.