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Quartet San Francisco: Brubeck On Strings

As today's 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony begins, members of the Quartet San Francisco will be crossing their fingers. Their 2009 album QSF Plays Brubeck received nominations in two categories: Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Engineered Classical Album.

The record celebrates last year's 50th anniversary of Dave Brubeck's classic Time Out, with string quartet renditions of tunes that Brubeck wrote or made famous. It even contains several key songs from Time Out, including "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk."

Quartet San Francisco came by NPR's Studio 4A to play some of their Brubeck repertoire. Between songs, violinist Jeremy Cohen, violinist Alisa Rose, violist Keith Lawrence and cellist Michelle Djokic spoke with host Liane Hansen. The group is known for its arrangements of tango and jazz works.

"For us, any of the music that we really resonate with, the music that we grew up with ... I've always felt, if I can walk down the street and sing these things to myself, that we should be able to respell them in strings," says Cohen, who wrote many of the arrangements on QSF Plays Brubeck.

Cohen says he remembers when, as a child, Brubeck's Time Out was released.

"We were told about the four 'B's — Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Brubeck — in my family," he says.

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