His stage name should be Gnash Bridges. Because he brings together genres seamlessly with his viola from hip-hop to classical and will have you gnashing or gritting your teeth with his, ahem, mad orchestral skills. This Friday night shouldn't be any different for string man at-large Miguel Atwood Ferguson as part of Quartetto Fantastico, which will link up with another foursome, Chez Quartette on the back end.
Having stirred the air last summer at Grand Performances, much like a prowling MC might or an underground Quincy Jones, he will again return but making yet another, more interesting turn on his journey. After listening to a recording of last year's amazing performance, one wonders, "Why switch it up man?" But the truth is, I've never seen him give the same performance twice, and that's with having watched four different performances in a year. Not including a recent one with a legion of hip hop and jazz greats in Harlem's Annunciation Park a month ago.
And for you to then realize that on the journey, this funky yet entrancing string arrangement by his bandmate Chris Woods in this Quartetto Fantastico is actually the theme song to the David Hasselhoff TV show "Knight Rider," well you gotta get in and see where this is going.
Gaining fame in certain circles with his "Suite for Ma Dukes," the 40-piece orchestral tribute to hip-hop beatmaster J Dilla from LA's Mochilla Productions, he will take those fans, as well as the jazz heads who like him, into another land with that quartet (and later an Octect by joining forces with partner in crime Geoff "Double G" Gallegos and his quartet this same night). And this time, the umpteen vocalists he's worked with -- from John Legend, Erykah Badu to Britain's Susan Boyle to Wyclef and Rihanna -- won't be in the spotlight. Just a man, some friends, and strings under a moonlit sky in downtown LA. Ploink, ka-ploink, ka-ploink.
Quartetto Fantastico and Chez Quartette at Grand Performances, Friday August 5 8pm at California Plaza Ampitheater (350 S. Grand between 3rd and 4th St). Admission is FREE!