Four Christmases

The Turtle Island String Quartet plays an unusual blend of holiday music.

The string quartet has traditionally been a vehicle for classical music, but for almost 25 years, the Turtle Island String Quartet has taken the form to a completely different place. The group frequently improvises when delving into the jazz realm, as evidenced on its latest effort, the outstanding A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane.

For tonight’s Solstice Celebration concert, cellist and founding member Mark Summer says the musicians will put a jazzy spin on “Silent Night,” which segues into Miles Davis’s “All Blues,” and offer a Latin-jazz take on “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah.” They’ll also perform tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas and a Bollywood film. In addition, the players will explore their own roots, presenting music from the Hindu holiday Dewali, which Summer says is part of violinist Dave Balakrishnan’s tradition, and Scottish fiddle music that’s part of violist Jeremy Kittel’s ancestry.

“It’s a very diverse program that’s a lot of fun with a real groove,” Summer says.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; a free Behind the Curtain lecture precedes it at 6:30. Tickets are $28 to $52; purchase yours at 303-357-ARTS or www.ticketmaster.com.
Sat., Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2008

 
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