2006 Grammy-Nominated Turtle Island String Quartet

New York City: On February 15, 2006 Baruch College (The City University of New York) will host the jazz oriented, Grammy-nominated Turtle Island String Quartet as part of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series, now in its 14th season.

The performance will take place in Baruch College's Engelman Recital Hall in the Vertical Campus building at 55 Lexington Avenue. The February 15 concert begins at 6 p.m. The concert is free and open to the general public and Baruch students, faculty, and administration. Free tickets may be picked up from the Vertical Campus Box Office (ground floor) prior to the concert.

This concert–organized by the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Committee–is funded by the Baruch College Performing Arts Center and The Baruch College Fund.

Turtle Island String Quartet Background

Its name derived from creation mythology found in Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island String Quartet, since its inception in 1985, has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed TISQ to be "a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today." Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined.

The Quartet's birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan's brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing his master's thesis at Antioch University West. The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India …a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals. It has included over a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, and Prairie Home Companion, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor and Kenny Barron, the Ying Quartet and the Parsons Dance Company.

Another unique element of TISQ is their revival of venerable improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for nearly 200 years. At the time of Haydn's apocryphal creation of the string quartet form, musicians were more akin to today's saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world, i.e., improvisers, composers, and arrangers. Each Turtle Island member is accomplished in these areas of expertise as well as having extensive conservatory training as instrumentalists.

Hinton Series Background

The 1992 inaugural Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert starred jazz bassist Milt Hinton himself together with his picks for an "All-Star" ensemble: Seldon Powell (saxophonist), Bob Rosengarden (Drums), Mike Walters (saxophone and woodwinds), Derek Smith (piano), Jay D'Amico (piano), Mike Grey (trombone), and John "Bucky" Pizzarelli (guitar). This magical first concert saw famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis join the group during the second half.

The following year Tito Puente and his big band also played to a full house with some students and faculty dancing in the aisles. In 1994 the concert was billed as a "Tribute to Women in Jazz" and featured a performance by singer Ruth Brown and Friends and the group Straight Ahead. In 1995 trombonist extraordinaire Slide Hampton and the Big Band Bird filled the bill for the fourth annual concert.

In 1996 America's jazz statesman Dr. Billy Taylor and the Billy Taylor Trio graced the Baruch College stage. In 1997 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band gave a performance that offered a unique blend of Latin and jazz traditions. The 1998 concert presented virtuoso drummer Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Big Band.

The world famous Mingus Big Band played at the 8th annual concert in 1999. The Bronx Horns, consisting of Tito Puente’s brass section, together with Dave Valentin (flute) and Randy Brecker (trumpet), performed at the 9th annual concert in 2000. In 2001, The Heath Brothers (“Percy, Jimmy, and Tootie”) with special guest Jimmy Owens, performed at the 10th annual concert.

In 2002 (season #11) the Hinton Committee expanded its offerings with a series of concerts, including a November 6, 2002 concert featuring “The Latin-Jazz All Stars” with several world-renown Latin-jazz musicians: trumpeter/leader Michael Mossman, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, bassist Andy Gonzalez, and percussionist Phoenix Rivera. The 2002-2003 season also featured the Marty Sheller Big Band, Chris Washburne’s SYOTOS Latin-Jazz ensemble, and “Rumbamerica,” an Afro-Cuban ensemble made up of some of New York's top Afro-Cuban drummers, singers, and dancers.

The 2003-2004 season featured the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the “Sax in the City” quartet, the Ted Piltzecker Septet, and the Roberta Piket Trio.

As in the previous two years, for the 2004-2005 season the Hinton committee organized a series of concerts starting with the November 4, 2004 performance of the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Arturo O’Farrill. Dikki Du and the Zydeco Crew performed in the lobby of the vertical campus in early December 2004. On February 10, 2005 Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook appeared in Baruch’s Engelman Recital Hall venue, as did the Andy LaVerne Piano-Organ Trio (with drummer Danny Gottlieb and keyboardist Gary Versace) in March 2005.

The 2005-2006 season saw "Drummer of the Year" Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Ache perform in October 2005, followed by the George Gee Swing Orchestra performance on December 1. The 2005-2006 Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series will conclude with the Andy Middelton Octet in March 2006.

For further information contact:
Eugene Marlow, Co-Chair
Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Concert Series
Baruch College
646-312-3924
nmprinc@aol.com

The City University of New York