Turtle Island brings musical fusion to CSC

Mark Summer, of Novato, speaks to the audience during the group's musical performance Tuesday evening. Novato plays the cello for the "Turtle Island Quartet." — Photo by Ashley Swanson

Mark Summer, of Novato, speaks to the audience during the group's musical performance Tuesday evening. Novato plays the cello for the "Turtle Island Quartet." — Photo by Ashley Swanson

A mixture of smooth jazz, rhythmic rock and roll, classical, and tap-your-feet pieces filled Memorial Hall, Tuesday during the Turtle Island Quartet’s Galaxy Series concert. The performance, featuring music from Jimi Hendrix and David Balakrishnan, exposed the audience to a wide variety of fun and interesting music.

Now finishing out their twenty-fifth season, the quartet, consisting of violin and baritone violinist, David Balakrishnan; Mark Summer, cello; Mads Tolling, violin; and Jeremy Kittel, viola and violinist, wowed the audience as they moved from piece to piece. The group introduced four songs from the Hendrix album, “Electric Ladyland,” including, Have You Ever Been, House Burning Down, 1983, and Voodoo Child. Each song, brilliantly played and well rehearsed, meshed cohesively with the theme and memory of Hendrix and his work.

Mads Tolling, of Copenhagen, provides background context to a song during the group's 7 p.m. performance Tuesday night in Memorial Hall. — Photo by Ashley Swanson

Mads Tolling, of Copenhagen, provides background context to a song during the group's 7 p.m. performance Tuesday night in Memorial Hall. — Photo by Ashley Swanson

“Ashwattha” and “Coelacanth,” composed by Balakrishnan, tied in with his composition “Tree of Life.” As the quartet played “Ashwattha,” multiple layers of somber yet upbeat and jazzy tunes cascaded from the instruments as the players progressed through the piece.

“Little Wing,” a song written and performed by Hendrix, was played in a solo cello version by Summer. Before starting, Summer talked about how the song intrigued him and how he eventually came up with a little different version of the song; though, after playing it for his son, who asked where all the “cool” things went, Summer changed the song back in to its original form. “It’s a lot of Jimi Hendrix and a little bit of me,” he said.

The night ended with a piece dedicated to John Coltrane called, “Song for John,” written by renowned bass player Stanley Clarke. After a quick bow and some ending remarks, the quartet finished the concert with an encore song entitled, “Hey Joe,” written by Hendrix in the late 1960s.

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