Length: 60 minutes; 6th grade to college level
The focus in this program is on the fundamental rhythmic differences between European classical and American vernacular forms, using the rich historical connection to the traditional string quartet as the point of departure for a cross-cultural musical journey that begins with Beethoven and ends with….Turtle Island Quartet! The quartet identifies the “back-beat” as the key, unveiling it in its various stylistic guises with the help of the audience, and then the quartet embarks on a simple and methodical layering of the basic building blocks employed in creating a jazz string combo, one instrument at a time.
Turtle Island discusses the various techniques that allow it all to happen, including innovative percussive techniques, emulation of other instruments (saxophone, guitar, trumpet, bass, etc.), neo-classical phrasing, composition and arranging, and basics of improvisation. One of the highlights is an exploration of the American fiddle tradition, utilizing the second theme of Dvorak’s American Quartet. Also touched upon are odd meters in jazz ala Dave Brubeck, Hip-Hop/60s rock ala Jimi Hendrix, R&B ala Tower Of Power and clave rhythms of Latin American music. There is even a little fun with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Throughout all, the back-beat rules.
Note: the Quartet always reserves time for questions. The question period is built into projected show times.