Turtle Island Quartet

Esprit de Django & Stephane Festival

Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:00 pm
(doors open at 7:00 pm)

Grammy-winning, boundary-breaking chamber ensemble

$27 advance / $29 door

Purchase tickets online
January 25 8:00 pm

Turtle Island QuartetThe Turtle Island Quartet returns to their East Bay home to present a special program of original works and music inspired by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli.

The two-time Grammy-winning quartet has been exploring the relationship between musical genres for nearly thirty years. Their bold and transcendent style incorporates features from all different kinds of music, and their ability to translate the inherent improvisational and groove-inducing aspects of jazz is unparalleled. The quartet has been bending genres since 1985, and their visionary approach took root at the Freight, where they performed their first official concert.

The Freight represents a home base for the quartet, and it has been a testing ground for their music since their inception. Violinist and co-founder David Balakrishnan describes the Freight as “a long time supporter of our music that shares a similar mission as us . . . they encompass a very wide range while adhering to the importance of high quality, primarily acoustic music making.” The Freight has been a musical laboratory for the quartet, a place to test and try fresh material in a supportive and equally creative environment.

David performed with Stephane Grapelli in the early 1980s, and many of the selections in tonight’s program are in the style of Django and Stephane’s legendary collaboration. “We relish the opportunity,” David says, “to play Stephane Grapelli to Freight & Salvage’s Django.”

With David on violin along with Mateusz Smocynski, Benjamin von Gutzeit on viola, and co-founder Mark Summer on cello, the quartet brings zest, humor, imagination, and brilliant technique to bear as they fuse the classical quartet aesthetic with jazz, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, folk, R&B, new age, rock, and hip-hop, as well as music from Latin America and India. “It must have been like this when Beethoven was taking Vienna by storm,” says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “the exhilaration of seeing the future of classical music unfold before your eyes and ears.”

This amazing jazz-infused program is an homage and a return to the quartet’s musical home base. They are going back, but always forward. This program illustrates the Turtle Island Quartet’s ongoing endeavor to create captivating music, which started at the Freight.

Bobbi Nikkles will be playing in the lobby from 7 to 8 pm.

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