The best choice for string quartet and saxophone, jazz and classical chamber music.
In 1997, Jim Gailloreto embarked on a new project called Jazz String Quintet. Jazz String Quintet is immersed in all the traditions and performance practices of classical music, while simultaneously expanding and exploring all the truest elements of jazz.
It is an integration of both jazz and classical music written for string quartet and soprano saxophone. Inspired by sources as diverse as Debussy and Ravel to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, composer and saxophonist JSQ offers a perfect blend of classical music and jazz: structure and spontaneity. The compositions interweave his own soprano saxophone with skilled modernist writing for string quartet.
“No composer has shaped the structures and layered the phrases of the string quartet to so successfully accommodate full-tilt improvisation,” writes jazz authority Neil Tesser.
Working with longtime associates of The HAWK String Quartet, Jazz String Quintet achieves a true fusion of forms, which has collaborated with such artists as vocalist Kurt Elling, pianist-composer Fred Hersch, Corky Siegel's “Chamber Blues” and West African kora player Foday Musa Suso.
He has performed with the Bill Russo's Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Chamber Musicians and the new music group Fulcrum Point. He also recorded and performed with Blue Note artist Patricia Barber on "Mythologies", Origin artist guitarist John Mc Lean's "Better Angels", with pianist Jeremy Kahn on "Most of a Nickel", vocalist Grazyna Auguscik's "Lulajze".
His string quartet arrangments can be heard on Kurt Elling's CD "Dedicated To You". He recently performed a Chicago premier of Marc Anthony Turnage's "Scorched" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and John Scofield.
What the Chicago Tribune thinks about Jim Gailloreto's Jazz String Quintet
By Howard Reich, Tribune arts critic
Thursday night's opening augured well for this year's event, with a serenely beautiful performance by Chicago singer Kurt Elling and saxophonist Jim Gailloreto's Jazz String Quintet. Though only a small ensemble held the stage of Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center, the intricacy, detail and innovation of Gailloreto's writing evoked the sense of a chamber orchestra. Many jazz musicians have written arrangements for strings, but Gailloreto's stood out, in part because of the sheer amount of musical information he packed into each piece. Where lesser composers use the strings simply to play slow-moving chords or double the melody line, Gailloreto offered clever, four-part string writing. Elling joined the fray on several numbers, his voice a warm and supple foil to the quintet's often prickly, provocative accompaniments.
What the Examiner thinks about Jim Gailloreto's Jazz String Quintet
by Neil Tesser, Critic
The attractiveness of such a fusion jumps out at anyone familiar with both formats: the string quartet is classical music's equivalent of the basic jazz trio, in the sense that each exists as a compact, flexible self contained combo. And certainly, these earlier efforts by such giants as Bill Russo (writing for Lee Konitz), Max Roach, and more recently Steve Turre have set the stage for this latest attempt by the Chicago reedman Jim Gailloreto
But to my ear, no one has written string quartet music with such a firm grasp of both traditions. No jazz musician has dived so deep into the translucent pools of tonal color unique to the string quartet; on the other hand, no composer has shaped the structures and layered the phrases of the string quartet to so successfully accommodate full tilt improvisation.
Then again, when it comes to the subject of musical invention, I've come to believe that Jim Gailloreto is always to be trusted.
In 2006, the Jazz String Quintet recorded a self-titled American Complex, featuring the incomparable jazz vocalist and Green Mill fixture Patricia Barber on original tunes and adapted standards of Jerome Kern, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. With poignant, beguiling poetry, Barber's voice drifts among darkened bedrooms like some melancholy ghost in her “Spring Song,” one of her two originals on the album. Gailloreto's spacious, late-night horn snakes around Barber as the strings intersperse little constellations of harmonics. Yet it's the album's title work (a commission by Chamber Music America) that exhibits Gailloreto's finest writing to date, most notably in the “Lullaby” movement when the lyricism is offset with an ominous string pizzicato.
With a recent appearance at New York City's prestigious Bargemusic series and this week's can't-miss album-release performance in the Chicago Cultural Center's Under the Dome series, the Jazz String Quintet is poised for exposure far beyond city limits. And there's nary a smooth Christmas album in sight.