The mission of the SFJAZZ Collective is simple but brilliant: Assemble an octet of first-tier contemporary jazz musicians, annually focus on the compositions of a single modern jazz master, come up with arrangements that simultaneously honor jazz tradition and stress innovation, add complementary new pieces by each member, take it on the road after intense rehearsals, and, finally, document it with a recording. The Collective has been at it since 2004, covering Ornette Coleman, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Monk, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, Stevie Wonder (a pop artist whose pieces have become cross-genre standards), and, this year, Chick Corea, the pianist who played with Miles Davis in the '60s, later was a pioneer of fusion with Return to Forever and continues to pursue many innovative projects, including April's Dakota performance with banjoist Béla Fleck. The Collective's current lineup is a virtual all-star slate with an international flair: alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, Stefon Harris on vibes, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Obed Calvaire. These singular talents coalesce into a particularly agile band that embodies serious jazz as a vibrant, vital organism, pushing boundaries, embracing roots, creating transcendent music. (Photo by John Abbott)
Tue., March 19, 7 p.m., 2013
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