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

A tribute to ’Trane is a tall order for anyone but the TIQ are up to the task. Their playing has always been more robust than other string quartets, the Kronos Quartet being the first that come to mind. Like Coltrane, they can create rich and immensely satisfying sheets of sound, and swing like hell. They tear through early ’Trane landmarks like "Countdown” and "Naima.” Also impressive is their version of Shakti’s tribute, "Le Danse Du Bonheur,” where L. Shankar’s violin is strongly evoked, and the original "Model Trane,” whose bumpin’ cello/bass line is begging for a remix. The centrepiece to the album is their ballsy take on Coltrane’s masterwork, which leader David Balakrishnan distils into sensitive orchestrations and thoroughly improvised passages. TIQ can’t be expected to equal or surpass the original’s intensity and spirituality but they sidestep those impossibilities by way of an introspective arrangement and their deeply soulful playing. In the "Acknowledgment” section, they resist the temptation to go into funny, self-consciously strident harmonies as some kind of "freedom quest” intro so common to ’70s dilutions of Coltrane’s work. They plug into the spirituality of the composition right away, with an arrangement that incorporates Coltrane’s improvised phrases into the charts. "Resolution” is what sets the TIQ apart from other string ensembles — overtop of cellist Mark Summer’s rock solid propulsion, the group solos with abandon, brilliantly capturing the Coltrane quartet’s collective mindset in this unlikely and ambitious setting. (Telarc) (Telarc)