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.