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Turtle Island Quartet with Special Guest Artist Cyrus Chestnut

Saturday, February 11, 2017
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location: Beckman Auditorium

Jelly, Rags & Monk

The extraordinary jazz pianist, Cyrus Chestnut, and the GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet are back together, displaying their formidable collective virtuosity. Making soulful and sweet connections that delve deeply into the jazz and classical traditions, the quintet embraces a range of composers on this brand new program—from Jelly Roll Morton to Thelonious Monk.

Back when sheet music was the means of musical transmission, in the hands of composers like Debussy and Stravinsky, ragtime found its way into the classical repertoire of Europe. But in the first part of the 20th century in America, the giant of ragtime and jazz was Jelly Roll Morton. An obvious candidate for exploration is Morton's nod to his New Orleans Creole roots, Turtle Twist, an example of his trademark 'spanish tinge' style that was to reverberate throughout all the periods of jazz that followed. Monk himself cites Morton as one of his main influences, and his timeless composition Blue Monk, with its ragtime rhythms and bent harmonies, was one of his personal favorites. Given a more modern reading is Joplin's evocative Pineapple Rag, which provides the quintet an opportunity to show off the swing style intended by the composer.

Turtle Island and Cyrus Chestnut draw a blazing and virtuosic line from the early roots of jazz directly to Monk, one of the geniuses of the modern jazz era.

Cyrus Chestnut courtesy of Addeo Music International

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Presented by: Caltech Committee on Institute Programs

Series: Performing Arts Series
$45, $40, $35; $10 youth
For more information, please phone (626) 395-4652 or email

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