The classical string quartet is considered the invention of classical composer Franz Josef Haydn. The Turtle Island String Quartet has a reputation of pursuing not so obvious applications of the classical string quartet format. This is quite apparent on their debut Telarc releaseis it jazz or classical? The Turtle Island four join forces with the Ying Quartet for a thought-provoking mix of classical and nonclassical performances. The three-part suite "Mara's Garden of False Delights" is a commissioned work that betrays an Eastern sensibility tempered with a Gershwin-like harmonic backbone. This mixing of cultures is a theme throughout the recording.
The straight "classical" piece is Darius Milaud's "La Creation Du Monde," as arranged by Danny Seidenberg. The pop music entry is the Beatles' "Because." Both pieces are performed respectfully, with great insight and internal harmonic knowledge. Oliver Nelson's brilliant "Yearnin'" is played with great soul and a smile. These songs demonstrate both the depth and breath of the two quartets' vision and capability.
Perhaps most provocative piece is entitled "Variations on an Unoriginal Theme," both for its ironic title and clever educational value. This composition uses an original theme with seven variations that include references to Haydn, Celtic dance, a Tchaikovsky scherzo, an Aaron Copland hoedown recapitulation morphing into a Negro gospel romp, Bernard Hermann and Phillip Glass, big band swing with a hint of Le Hot Club du France, a Ravel/Debussy love-child, and a summit between Horace Silver and James Brown. This is just plain fun, with an educational twist to boot.
Track Listing: Yearnin'; Julie-0; Mora's Garden of False Delights (three-part suite); La Creation Du Monde; Variations on an Unoriginal Theme; Because.
Personnel: Turtle Island String Quartet: David Bakakrishnan - violin; Evan Price - violin; Mads Tolling - viola; Mark Summer - cello;
Ying Quartet: Timothy Ying - violin; Janet Ying - violin; Phillip Ying -- viola
David Ying -- cello
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.