By turns ecstatic, swinging and somber, the Turtle Island String Quartet's interpretations of John Coltrane's music are a welcome addition to the saxophone icon's legacy. This isn't a "classical" treatment of Coltrane by conservatory longhairs who've learned to appreciate his art. That would be deadly. Instead, thanks to Turtle Island's grounding in jazz improvisation, Coltrane glories like "Naima," "A Love Supreme" and his popular gloss on "My Favorite Things" receive well-considered arrangements that treat them like vital works of art.
The centerpiece is a three-part suite that riffs off "A Love Supreme." It doesn't quite communicate the awesome sense of spiritual awakening that animates Coltrane's version, but it does tap into the whoosh of the divine afflatus during the concluding "Psalm" section.
The album also includes stabs at pieces influenced by Coltrane's legacy, one by John McLaughlin and the other by Stanley Clarke. Both come off as afterthoughts.