“This independently produced CD of string-quartet music is a delight. The project sprang from Jeremy Cohen’s personal quest to find good, fun, interesting arrangements of nonclassical music for quartet. Luckily for us, Cohen finally settled on the solution of creating the arrangements himself. The tunes range from the familiar to the obscure, from tangos to cartoon music, from Mancini to Brubeck to Wonder. Yep, Stevie Wonder: The wildly swingy tutti interludes in “Sir Duke” more than compensate for the almost-too-prissy verses. And the rest of the disc truly rocks, particularly the selections by Raymond Scott, a name some may recognize from Warner Brothers cartoons. Cohen’s arrangements are innovative and challenging treatments in which all the players share the spotlight, even the oft-neglected violist: Emily Onderdonk is more than equal to the task. OK, so five players do not a quartet make. But Jim Kerwin’s bass playing is impeccable, and he only slips into the lineup on the final three tracks.” — Elisa M. Welch, Strings Magazine
Quartet San Francisco’s 2002 Debut Recording, “Quartet San Francisco” featuring Jeremy Cohen and James Shallenberger, Violin, Emily Onderdonk, Viola, Joel Cohen, Cello and James Kerwin, Bass (11, 12, 13). Combining a love for the traditional form, and a desire to add more contemporary styles of music into the chamber music genre, this CD was created to add new material to the ever growing body of music available to chamber musicians around the world and to encourage musicians to create more of it.
On the Tangos (Felicia, Comme Il Faut, Gallo Ciego, Libertango): I was fortunate to play for almost two years with the Argentine production of Forever Tango in San Francisco. Comprised almost exclusively of authentic Tangueros from Argentina, the experience was exciting and educational at the same time. Their music, lives and passion all meet in their performance of this powerful music. The intensity and passion required to perform this music (and dance!) becomes a lifestyle, not an avocation. The lessons learned from playing and training with these performers will stay with me for my lifetime. I chose these four Tangos because of their profound character differences within the same genre.
On the Raymond Scott tunes (The Penguin, Siberian Sleighride, Toy Trumpet, Powerhouse): When I first heard the performance (on CD) of the Raymond Scott Quintet, the music absolutely jumped off the disc and seized me to create the string arrangements. I was drawn to his music like a moth to a flame. I had to do it! This is pure character music and it screamed of string chamber ensemble. Perhaps because I wanted to play them so badly I could taste it!
On the Dave Brubeck tunes (Blue Rondo Ala Turk, Strange Meadowlark): I grew up listening to Brubeck, Beethoven and Brahms (The 3 B’s in my home). My mother tells stories to this day about my being terribly ill and gluing myself to the speaker of our Hi-Fi and listening to Brubeck’s “Time Out” Long Playing album. It is a part of me and I didnít see why it should not be a part of chamber music for strings. After all, I could play the violin, so why not Brubeck? Why wasn’t it out there for me to find and play with other string players? Blue Rondo was one of my first arrangements. Strange Meadowlark was written after having a conversation with Matthew Brubeck (Dave’s youngest son and a fine local Cellist). He suggested to me that Strange Meadowlark would work well for strings and I agreed, and badaboom!
On Sir Duke: I wanted to arrange a “groove” tune for strings. Sir Duke has stood out for years as one of my favorites. I felt it could stand on its own without the lyrics, and it does.
On Pink Panther: Even if you remove the image of the cartoon character, this composition goes down as one of the most beautiful and pristine of all Jazz classics, in my book.
Microphones: (2) Neumann M50 microphones were used for left and right mains; (4) Senheiser MKH80 microphones were used for spot mics on each of the players; (1) Neumann M147 mic was used as a spot for the Bass. Cables used were MIT and Canare Star Quad. Microphone preamplifiers used were GML and Grace. The console used was an AMS/Neve VXS with 72 inputs. Monitors were B&W 802 Nautalus with Mark Levinson Amplification & Genelec 1030A’s.