Thursday, February 11, 2016

"Cool" Strings at the Stockbridge

Turtle Island Quartet comes to the Stockbridge February 19th
Last January, I sat in a small ballroom in New York absolutely transfixed by the artists on stage.  Just a few minutes into the set, I sent Mike Adams a text that read, "If we book Turtle Island, they will be the best string players who have ever stepped foot on the Stockbridge stage."  In a response fairly typical of Mr. Adams, he wrote back, "Cool."  Well, the Turtle Island Quartet is cool.  Yes, I said it, a cool string quartet.  Trust me, I know that classical music is a hard sell and have been told that it is not for everyone.  I want those people in the seats when Turtle Island plays the Stockbridge next Friday night (2/19 at 7:00, More Info Here).  The guys in Turtle Island play their instruments in ways that I have simply never seen or heard before.  As comfortable with a piece by Bach as with something by Coltrane or even Hendrix (their rendition of "All Along the Watchtower" is mind blowing), the quartet's formidable skill on the strings is as impressive as it is entertaining.

For the concert at the Stockbridge, The Turtle Island Quartet will be playing one of their most popular new programs, Birth of the Cool.  In this concert, the quartet employs their signature groove-based rhythmic techniques to create brand new arrangements of cool jazz standards that prove that the line between classical music and jazz is much thinner than one might think. In addition to classics by Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Lenny Tristano and others, the quartet will premiere a brand-new work by founder and violinist David Balakrishnan. 

While we often discourage texting during our performances, I hope that you come to the show next week and find yourself in a situation similar to mine where you feel the need to let one of your friends know just how amazing this group is.  I've often said to my friends and family that you should never turn down the opportunity to see artists who are the best at what they do.  It doesn't matter if they are saxophonists or fire-swallowers, if they are the best in their field they are worth seeing.  That's how I feel about Turtle Island.  Come to this show, and even if you don't consider yourself a string aficionado, I'm confident the Turtle Island Quartet will blow you away.  You'll leave the theatre and won't be able to keep from thinking to yourself, "That was cool."  

-Matt Cahoon, Director of Cultural Programming