Quartet San Francisco's 2006 release Latigo, which gave passionate expression to the group's devotion to tango, was honored last December with two Grammy nominations in the Classical Crossover field, including Best Album.
Their audacious new ViolinJazz Recordings CD Whirled Chamber Music ups the ante, presenting what violinist Jeremy Cohen calls crossover music in its purest form. Due for release September 25, the new disc draws from a wide variety of indigenous American formsjazz, funk, rock, tangothat are imaginatively crafted by Cohen for string quartet. The CD's title refers to the walls between genres coming down, with the Quartet offering, you might say, a new whirled order.
Quartet San Francisco, established in 2001, consists of Cohen and Kayo Miki on violins, Emily Onderdonk (viola), and Joel Cohen (cello). The quartet's contemporary musical sensibilities combined with the sheer physical energy required to play these rich American styles of music provide fertile ground for the ensemble to present their unique version of World Music.
The repertoire on the new CD advances the crossover concept in stunning fashion. Seven of the tracks are by Raymond Scott (1908-1994), the iconoclastic composer, bandleader, inventor, and electronic music pioneer whose music was given its broadest exposure on Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes cartoons in the 1940s and '50s and whose centennial will be celebrated next year. Scott's whimsical melodies and swinging rhythms are ideally suited to string players with appetites for color and character, notes Cohen.