Turtle Island String Quartet

Metropolis

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The Turtle Island String Quartet proved that they weren't a one-shot deal with this formidable follow-up to their impressive debut CD. Instead of emphasizing extended works, fully half of the tracks come from the world of jazz. Violinist Darol Anger's arrangement of Pat Metheny's "Jaco" is reminiscent of his former boss David Grisman's music at times, adding a snappy modern bluegrass flavor to this fusion composition. Violinist David Balakrishan's playful treatment of Duke Pearson's bop masterpiece "Jeannine" and his very original approach to John Coltrane's timeless ballad "Naima" are noteworthy, as is violist Irene Sazer's percussive, very swinging scoring of Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder." Cellist Mark Summer's "Julie-O" is a show-stopping solo effort as he alternates between bowing and playing pizzicato. Special guest drummer Steve Williamson is added for the funky "Four on the Floor," which he also wrote and arranged; like the written contributions of the individual members of the group, Williamson's piece is anything but run-of-the-mill. This disc reflects the influence of many types of music, but the superb improvisations of each of the soloists make this jazz release an essential acquisition.

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