Kronos Quartet

Complete Landmark Sessions

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From nearly the start of the group, the Kronos String Quartet has gone its own way. Although comprised of classical musicians who do not improvise, they have long been open to modern classical music, other styles and even jazz. During 1984-1985, they surprised the music world by recording a full album apiece of the music of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. With Orrin Keepnews working as producer and Tom Darter supplying inventive arrangements, both of the sets were successes. The Monk Suite and the Music of Bill Evans albums were repackaged and reissued in the late '90s as a two-CD set for 32 Jazz. For The Monk Suite, Kronos performs eight Monk songs (including "Well You Needn't," "Crepescule with Nellie," "'Round Midnight" and "Brilliant Corners") plus two Duke Ellington tunes that Monk had interpreted; bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Eddie Marshall are on the Duke songs. The latter two numbers could be called "Kronos Plays Monk Plays Ellington." While the Monk project includes guest bassist Ron Carter, the Bill Evans album has either guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Eddie Gomez helping out and taking solos on three songs apiece. Kronos is outstanding on the nine Evans-associated numbers including "Waltz for Debby," "Nardis" and "Five." These two "musical experiments" worked quite well and resulted in unique and timeless recordings.

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