Artist Catalog

Turtle Island String Quartet

The Turtle Island Quartet (known as the "Turtle Island String Quartet" before the 2007 release of A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane) is a San Francisco Bay Area based jazz string quartet formed in 1985 and still actively touring worldwide and recording as of 2016. They were the first string quartet to achieve artistic and commercial success integrating jazz improvisation, jazz rhythms and comping using extended techniques. Their extensive repertoire consists primarily of compositions and arrangements by quartet members that highlight their versatility by bridging several styles including Bluegrass, European classical music, funk, jazz, Latin American music, and Indian classical music. They became known for their renditions of jazz standards, such as founding violinist David Balakrishnan's Grammy-nominated arrangement of "A Night In Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Stolen Moments" by Oliver Nelson, or "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck on Art of the Groove, as well as for jazz interpretations of famous classical music pieces, as shown on the humorously titled "Bach's Lunch" on The Hamburg Concert. The quartet has also covered rock and roll pieces, such as Jimi Hendrix's "Gypsy Eyes" on Who Do We Think We Are? and Eric Clapton's - originally Robert Johnson's - "Crossroads" on Skylife.

In addition to playing as a quartet, they have collaborated with renowned jazz artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, pianist Kenny Barron, the classical string quartet Ying Quartet, vocalist Tierney Sutton and several major orchestras.

Their name was taken by co-founder Darol Anger from Native American mythology, where "Turtle Island" is the name for the North American continent, courtesy of poet Gary Snyder's influential book of the same name.