homage to Charlie Parker
In this high flying program, the two-time GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet, pays homage to the incandescent visionary brilliance of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker. The genius of his improvisations almost single handedly catapulted jazz from pop style into art music, indelibly altering the musical landscape of America.
Iconic Charlie Parker classics such as KoKo, A Night In Tunisia, and Dewey Square are juxtaposed with original responses by quartet members, and intertwined with other thematic pieces from the bebop era and beyond such as Sonny Rollins’ Airegin, Miles Ahead by Gil Evans/Miles Davis, and Subconscious-Lee by Lee Konitz. Grammy-nominated composer David Balakrishnan contributes his newly commissioned work, Aeroelasticity: Harmonies Of Impermanence.*
Turtle Island draws its primary focus and musical identity from the individual creative voices of the ensemble who are at home in folk, pop and jazz. It continues to recalibrate the foundational parameters of the traditional string quartet form, in a sense coming from the other direction.
*Aeroelasticity: Harmonies Of Impermanence is made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
With special guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut
The instrumentation is recognizable to any aficionado of chamber music, that of the classic piano quintet. Renowned jazz master Cyrus Chestnut and the GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet continue their remarkable journey together as they traverse the myriad colors of jazz and beyond. The collaboration is infused with the global reach of gospel and sacred music- ranging from the Appalachian Mountains to the spiritually defined musical landscape of J.S. Bach. Dipping into the rhythms of world cultures, these five multi-stylistic singularly, gifted musicians come together to embrace the transcendental power of great music. A moving night of Ellington, Wayne Shorter, Bill Withers, Coltrane, and more.
visions of a frosty winter’s eve and year-end celebrations from around the globe
The two-time GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet parlays its own unique brand of jazz chamber brilliance to present a joyous concert of effervescent music making. The repertoire evokes visions of a frosty winter’s eve and year-end celebrations from around the globe. From ancient King Wren songs of the Celtic winter solstice and yuletide reels from Ireland, to Brazilian festive chorinho music, African Kora, tunes of Hannukah, slavic folk carols, a Hindu spiritual, and a Miles Davis holiday classic, Turtle Island delves into the timeless music that has been an integral part of wintertime festivities for centuries.
string purveyors of the improvisational art
The Turtle Island foursome is, astonishing though it may seem, the first-ever string ensemble in which all the members not only play jazz material authentically as an ensemble, but also are all experienced in the improvisational art. In other words, it has taken some 70 years for the strings to develop a talent that evolved among saxophonists, trumpeters, trombonists and clarinetists at the dawn of jazz history.
–Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times, 1988
This sinuous concert program takes its name from the popular board game (nowadays commonly known as “Chutes And Ladders”) which originated in ancient India that puts one through a chaotic journey of climbing up a ladder and sliding down the back of a snake while attempting to be the first to reach the top rung—a metaphor for the ups and downs of the game of life. Shifting quickly within a cornucopian array of jazz styles and beyond, the music is meant to evoke ‘rajas guna,’ one of the three categories of states of being in Hindu philosophy, typified by constantly changing passions such as fury, longing, terror, exhilaration, despair and ecstatic bliss.
Entering its thirty fifth season, the two-time GRAMMY® winning ensemble has long established itself as the premiere jazz string quartet of its time and an institution of sorts in its own right. The current version of the group relishes the opportunity to build on the past and point to the future as TIQ continues its wild ride traversing the ever-evolving world of chamber jazz.
Turtle Island Plays The Music Of John Coltrane
Given the proper conditions, a work of art can transcend both genre and era, claiming its rightful place in the universality of human expression that justifies the very existence of mankind. Such is the case of John Coltrane’s jazz epiphany, A Love Supreme. Recorded four decades ago at a time when the country was deeply troubled by issues of race and war, Trane’s music was a personal statement of redemption and salvation that struck a chord in the hearts of millions, becoming one of the most enduring jazz recordings of all time.
The string quartet form itself continues to thrive in the 21st century in no small part due to its impressive history of similar achievements in its two hundred year old canon. In exploring John Coltrane’s musical legacy, TI continues its own tradition of employing the string quartet form to shed new light on the timeless joy and beauty contained in the greatest music of the American jazz masters. The concert program will present an in-depth look at this landmark recording in the greater context of the music that preceded and followed, a time many consider to be the last great evolutionary period of jazz.