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.
Track Listing: Moment's Notice; La Danse du Bonheur; Model Trane;
A Love Supreme: Acknowledgment; Resolution, Pursuance, Psalm; 'Round Midnight; Countdown; My Favorite Things; Naima; Song To John; So What (Bonus Track).
Personnel: David Balakrishnan: violin; Mark Summer: cello; Evan Price: violin; Mads Tolling: viola.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.