August 01, 1994 12:00 PM

Turtle Island String Quartet

The Kronos Quartet may have been the first, but it’s not the only string quartet to toss its tuxedos and infiltrate the frontiers of jazz, bluegrass, world music and even Jimi Hendrix tunes. The difference is that while Kronos visits these territories, Turtle Island dwells in them. The group is now composed of Darol Anger (violin) and Mark Summer (cello), as well as Tracy Silverman (violin) and Danny Seidenberg (viola). Their interplay in cuts like Charlie Parker’s bebop classic “Moose the Mooche” and Miles Davis’s “Seven Steps to Heaven” is ripe and irrepressible. “Ruby, My Dear,” the profound The-lonious Monk ballad, builds from moonlit introspection to an exquisite tension that releases in a shower of ecstatic fiddling. The most haunting cut is the jazz standard, “You’ve Changed,” with Tonight show percussionist Vickie Randle, sans drums, contributing a slinky, sensuous vocal amid honeysuckle harmonies and a rhythmic flow that climaxes with Anger’s violin spinning a web around Randle’s scatted improvisation. (Windham Hill)

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