Spectrum Music is pleased to be welcoming back the Ton Beau String Quartet for our second collaboration, this time performing alongside Graham Campbell and Alex Goodman in “Journeys” on Saturday December 6, 2014. In between rehearsal & coming up with silly nicknames, Chelsea McBride talks to them about the upcoming concert and what’s next in the world of Ton Beau. If you missed last season’s “Early Expressions,” be sure to read Shannon Graham’s introduction of the Ton Beau String Quartet to find out more about them.
So the last time we saw you was for “Early Expressions” in April – tell us what’s new since then.
Bijan’s new! -laughs- Bijan joined us in September, and his first concert with us was on November 16th at Heliconian Hall, in which we premiered William Rowson’s Quartet. And Spectrum Music was sort of our first jazz collaboration, which has kind of given us the jazz “bug” – we’re now doing a recording session in January of a bunch of Pat Metheny tunes arranged for string quartet.
Glad to hear that! So how does it feel to be coming back to “chamber jazz” and collaborating with Spectrum once again?
Great! One of the things about playing as a string quartet is that we have a lot more freedom than in other ensembles – for example with rhythm; we can move more freely, it’s more open and interactive. Jazz musicians – and chamber jazz – has that same freedom. [The music] also takes us out of our comfort zone, and when we did this the first time we really tried to take away that spirit and apply it to our own playing; we hope to do the same thing again this time.
Talk to us about working with Graham and Alex. What were your expectations coming into these rehearsals? What’s it like working with them?
We met Alex in Banff a few years ago – we just happened to be there at the same time – and it must have been while he was working on the music for the record that got him nominated for the Juno [for contemporary jazz album of the year – Bridges, Connection Point Records, 2011]. We talked about hopefully working together in the future, so we’re excited that we have the opportunity to do so now. We weren’t sure what to expect coming into this, but the music is really different – Graham’s pieces are really groovy, and Alex’s are crazy hard – so we think it’s going to be a lot of fun!
You’ve mentioned the recording session, but after “Journeys,” what else is coming up in your season?
Well, there’s the recording session in January, and we’re also doing a five-week marketing session with LEANARTS in January. Then, in the spring, we’re looking forward to doing a collaboration with Peter Stoll, who’s a U of T clarinet professor, and we’ll also be performing (and later recording) all of our Toronto quartets, including the William Rowson one we premiered this month.