Quartet San Francisco
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Quartet San Francisco is much in the same spirit as the Turtle Island String Quartet, though their primary focus on this classical crossover CD is on Latin music, especially the tango. Violinists Jeremy Cohen and Kayo Miki, violist Emily Onderdonk and cellist Joel Cohen have a strong chemistry and the ability to engage in the most intricate interplay, while still incorporating improvisation into their performances. They suggest the presence of the late composer Astor Piazzolla's bandoneon in the moving interpretation of the sorrowful "Melodia en la Menor" and engage in a bit of playfulness in Chick Corea's "Armando's Rhumba," one of several tunes that add percussionist John Santos. The influence of the Turtle Island String Quartet is apparent in their lively arrangement of Leonard Bernstein's "Cool" (from the Broadway musical West Side Story). The sole original is Jeremy Cohen's "Crawdambo," a delightful mambo blending a number of musical influences, written in tribute to his late teacher, Anne Crowden. This is an auspicious release by a contemporary string quartet that will hopefully get the opportunity to record on a frequent basis.