On the Town

Turtle Island String Quartet

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On the Town Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD is simply delightful. Unlike the Kronos Quartet, the members of Turtle Island (violinists Darol Anger and David Balakrishnan, Katrina Wreede on viola, and cellist Mark Summer) all improvise; on this collection of swing standards, the effect is often like four incarnations of Stephane Grappelli. The inventive arrangements really showcase the group's power and creativity. The Billy Taylor Trio helps out on "Love for Sale," "Angel Eyes," and "A Smooth One," another trio joins up on "Cheek to Cheek," and there are a couple of guests. But, as shown on a hard-driving version of "Lady Be Good," the Turtle Island String Quartet is quite capable of creating swinging jazz by itself. A gem.

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