I am pleasantly surprised by the number of shows I've seen lately that include some sort of classical string instrument. It started a few months ago when I saw Bon Jovi's Unplugged show on Palladia which started off the show using a string ensemble for "Livin' on a Prayer", and various violin accompaniment through other songs.
Then, last week, one of my trumpet friends was in town touring with Jazz Mafia on the Brass, Bows, and Beats show. It was our first show at Le Poisson Rouge, the relatively new basement venue in the Village. What an excellent setting for a show with 40 musicians including a full big band, small string orchestra, large/complicated rhythm section, and multiple Hip Hop/R&B singers up front. This show was so good an innovative I would not be surprised if they are in the running for a Grammy. You should definitely see BBB if it comes to your area.
Then, I head off to the Montreal Jazz Festival where we saw Matt Herskowitz performing music from his Jerusalem Trilogy album. He's a pianist in a Jazz Trio, and he was doing some absolutely crazy stuff, like "Prokofiev's Revenge", a jazz piece arranged on Prokofiev's Etude in C minor, opus 2 number 3. If you don't know how hard this is, check out a Youtube Recording. Then go buy his album because it's insane. Also performing with him in Montreal (and on the album) is Lara St. John on Violin. Wow! These pieces were just incredible.
On Saturday night, Elisapie Isaac pleased us with some sexy rock vocals in a well thought-out and entertaining production which also included a string quartet!
I am very much liking the inclusion of string instruments all these various genres lately.