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Turtle Island Quartet : A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane

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You might think a string quartet’s version of “A Love Supreme” and other works associated with John Coltrane would be interesting for maybe five minutes. You’d be wrong. It’s interesting for maybe 30 seconds. Question: Why has the Turtle Island String Quartet suddenly stricken the word “String” from its names? To make us think it’s a real jazz quartet? Question: Have the good folks at Telarc lost their minds with this release? Question: Will it take four months for this disc to reach the cutout bins or only two?

This is the silliest damn thing to come along in some time. Yes, the Turtles are talented; they have proved that in 14 albums over the past two decades (despite their ever-changing roster). And yes, they have some jazzy ways about them. But this is heresy. Coltrane as new-age bluegrass? Come on. The technical facilities of violinists David Balakrishnan and Evan Price, violist Mads Tolling and cellist Mark Summer are not in question. They can play their instruments. But this album lacks emotion, which was the other half of Coltrane’s appeal. We could pick apart their “Moment’s Notice,” their “Countdown,” their “Naima,” their accurately performed, four-part title suite, but what’s the point? The notes are there. The feelings are not.