It was obvious that the Blue Chamber Quartet would add George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to their repertoire one day. It could just have easily marked the beginning of their career, as the ensemble founded in 2005 and Gershwin’s compositions from 1923/24 share a similar approach: the connection between classical music in the broadest sense with elements of jazz. This can also be seen in the other works on this recording that the Blue Chamber Quartet play in their very own way.
Release date: 3rd July 2015

Several classically-trained chamber ensembles have found fresh inspiration in jazz, so the crossover repertoire of the Blue Chamber Quartet is not especially surprising, though the group's instrumentation is a bit novel. Comprised of harp, piano, vibraphone, and piano, this Austrian-German quartet has an adaptable tonal palette that works well in either classical or jazz music, though there is a certain traditional conservatory approach in the playing.

The tracks that most display a flexible jazz feeling are Mark Glentworth's Blues for Gilbert and Allen Shawn's Three Dance Portraits, and they fulfill the group's promise of expanding stylistic parameters and permitting spontaneity and some improvisation.

The more conventional arrangements are Leonard Bernstein's Overture to Candide, Isaac Albéniz's Suite española, and George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which follow the originals closely without stretching much beyond the written notes. Yet this is the balancing act these musicians perform, and even though they seem to rely on classical discipline, they play with the tone colors and syncopated rhythms of jazz in appealing and inventive ways. They are sure to win many fans with this engaging 2015 release. ~ Blair Sanderson

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