4tet San Francisco
4tet San Francisco. Jeremy Cohen, James Shallenberger, violins; Emily Onderdonk, viola; Joel Cohen, cello; Jim Kerwin, bass. (Violinjazz 0110)
This independently produced CD of string-quartet music is a delight. The project sprang from Jeremy Cohen's personal quest to find good, fun, interesting arrangements of nonclassical music for quartet. Luckily for us, Cohen finally settled on the solution of creating the arrangements himself. The tunes range from the familiar to the obscure, from tangos to cartoon music, from Mancini to Brubeck to Wonder. Yep, Stevie Wonder: The wildly swingy tutti interludes in "Sir Duke" more than compensate for the almost-too-prissy verses. And the rest of the disc truly rocks, particularly the selections by Raymond Scott, a name some may recognize from Warner Brothers cartoons. Cohen's arrangements are innovative and challenging treatments in which all the players share the spotlight, even the oft-neglected violist: Emily Onderdonk is more than equal to the task. OK, so five players do not a quartet make. But Jim Kerwin's bass playing is impeccable, and he only slips into the lineup on the final three tracks.
This article, "4tet San Francisco," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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