Turtle Island Quartet
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|Turtle Island Quartet|
The Turtle Island Quartet with members (left to right) Mateusz Smoczynski, Mark Summer, Benjamin von Gutzeit, and David Balakrishnan
|Also known as||Turtle Island String Quartet|
|Origin||San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States|
The Turtle Island Quartet (known as the "Turtle Island String Quartet" before the 2007 release of A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane) is a San Francisco Bay Area based jazz string quartet formed in 1985 and still actively touring worldwide and recording as of 2015[update]. They were the first string quartet to achieve artistic and commercial success integrating jazz improvisation, jazz rhythms and comping using extended techniques. Their extensive repertoire consists primarily of compositions and arrangements by quartet members that highlight their versatility by bridging several styles including Bluegrass, European classical music, funk, jazz, Latin American music, and Indian classical music. They became known for their renditions of jazz standards, such as founding violinist David Balakrishnan's Grammy-nominated arrangement of "A Night In Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Stolen Moments" by Oliver Nelson, or "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck on Art of the Groove, as well as for jazz interpretations of famous classical music pieces, as shown on the humorously titled "Bach's Lunch" on The Hamburg Concert. The quartet has also covered rock and roll pieces, such as Jimi Hendrix's "Gypsy Eyes" on Who Do We Think We Are? and Eric Clapton's - originally Robert Johnson's - "Crossroads" on Skylife.
In addition to playing as a quartet, they have collaborated with renowned jazz artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, pianist Kenny Barron, the classical string quartet Ying Quartet, vocalist Tierney Sutton and several major orchestras.
Their name was taken by co-founder Darol Anger from Native American mythology, where "Turtle Island" is the name for the North American continent, courtesy of poet Gary Snyder's influential book of the same name.
As of 2012[update]:
- David Balakrishnan – violin and baritone violin (original member)
- Mateusz Smoczyński – violin
- Benjamin von Gutzeit – viola
- Mark Summer – cello (original member)
- Mads Tolling – violin
- Jeremy Kittel – viola
- Darol Anger – violin and baritone violin (original member)
- Laurie Moore – viola (original member)
- Irene Sazer – viola
- Danny Seidenberg – viola
- Tracy Silverman – violin
- Katrina Wreede – viola
- Evan Price – violin
Awards and recognition
- Grammy Awards and Grammy nominations
- Turtle Island String Quartet – 1988 Windham Hill
- Metropolis – 1989 Windham Hill
- Skylife – 1990 Windham Hill
- A Shock to the System – 1990 Windham Hill
- On the Town – 1991 Windham Hill
- Spider Dreams – 1992 Windham Hill
- Who Do We Think We Are? – 1994 Windham Hill
- By the Fireside – 1995 Windham Hill
- The Hamburg Concert – 1997 CCn'C Records
- Art of the Groove – 2000 Koch
- Danzon – 2002 Koch
- A Night in Tunisia, A Week in Detroit – 2002 Chandos
- 4 + Four – 2005 Telarc, with the Ying Quartet
- A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane – 2007 Telarc
- Have You Ever Been..?: The Music Of Jimi Hendrix and David Balakrishnan – 2010 Concord
- Confetti Man; 2014 Azica
- Turtle Island Quartet homepage
- "Turtle Island Quartet: Bending Musical Lines". National Public Radio. 2005-05-11. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- "Speak For Yourself! A Hyper-History of American Composer-Led New Music Ensembles". American Music Center. 1999-05-01. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- Music Mavericks Turtle Island Quartet Revolutionize Jazz
- "In Conversation with David Balakrishnan of the Turtle Island String Quartet" by Eugene Marlow, (Jazz.com).