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Whirled Chamber Music

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Album Review

String quartets playing anything but classical music, while not commonplace, are also not unique — see Kronos, Turtle Island, Max Roach's Double Quartet, or Quartette Indigo for a few examples. In the case of Quartet San Francisco, their repertoire is all over the map, from cartoon jazz to standards, American popular songs, tango and disco, the latter being throwaways. This group led by Jeremy and Joel Cohen (violin and cello, respectively) let musical styles fly by, pluck one, play it, and move on to another. Their penchant for the music of Raymond Scott is most evident, as seven of these selections are his. Of the more challenging picks, "Peter Tambourine" swings hard and sways, "Siberian Sleighride" evokes a definite wintry motif, and "The Penguin" is a layered, sophisticated, daring interpretation that yields great listening throughout. Several other Scott covers have a distinct country flavor. A twangy, skittering, fiddled, chicken-fried feeling is stapled into "Powerhouse," "Boy Scout in Switzerland," and "Toy Trumpet." David Grisman's "dawgrass" concept is modified in a Philip Glass minimalist level for Grisman's "Dawg's Bull." For the jazz oriented portion of the program, you hear the yearning strings sighing during Duke Ellington's "The Mooche," holding a compact, precise, sweet line on Chick Corea's "Spain," and stalking slinky and stealth for "Harlem Nocturne." The lone original, "Tanguori," is the tango flavored Astor Piazzolla influenced singleton. QSF can be polite, poetic, stoic, or even a bit wild, while staying within the framework of the original works, emphasizing stylistic elements rather than stretched jamming or pure improvisation. Clearly this group is capable of much more exploration and hopefully innovation, as this recording hints and winks at. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews


I love this album! Its a great way to support Quartet San Francisco and all of the artists. They are so nice and i personally know one of them. She works very hard and its cool to find her music available to audiences.


Genre: Classical

Years Active:

Working a sort of classical crossover groove with intervals of jazz improvisation somewhat in the vein of the Turtle Island String Quartet, Quartet San Francisco (based, obviously, in the San Francisco bay area) incorporates a high degree of Latin influences into its sound. The quartet first performed together in 2001 and released a debut album, Quartet San Francisco, a year later, using a lineup of violinists Jeremy Cohen and James Shallenberger, violist Emily Onderdonk, cellist Joel Cohen, and...
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Whirled Chamber Music, Quartet San Francisco
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