How well jazz translates to string quartet has been demonstrated by Kronos, and precious few other such ensembles, since its inception in 1978. Kronos has exposed wide audiences to not only 20th-century serious (i.e., neither wallpaper-thin nor decibel-proud) jazz and classical music, but the very string quartet format, showing it to be flexible, durable, timely. Orrin Keepnews produced Kronos’ projects playing Tom Darter’s arrangements of the music of T. Monk (1985, with Ron Carter on solo bass, as well as a rhythm section of Chuck Israels and Eddie Marshall) and Bill Evans (1986; three by Kronos alone, and three each adding Evans’ collaborators Jim Hall on guitar or Eddie Gomez on bass). Keepnews was the ideal producer, having produced both Monk’s and Evans’ seminal Riverside LPs. Brilliant conception and performance make these dates hallmarks for string ensembles who would play jazz.
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