SFJAZZ today announced the release of the SFJAZZ Collective’s eight limited-edition set, SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder and New Compositions, Live in New York 2011 – Season 8, of which a maximum of 5,000 copies will be produced. Available exclusively from SFJAZZ — presenter of this year’s 29th San Francisco Jazz Festival, running September 15 through December 18 — the deluxe, hand-numbered 3-CD set is the definitive recording of this all-star jazz ensemble’s eighth year. Recorded live April 30-May 3, 2011 at famed New York City venue, the Jazz Standard, the release features new arrangements of the classic works of Stevie Wonder, as well as, all-new original compositions by Collective members.
The Collective has received worldwide critical acclaim. The New York Times said, “You can propose various definitions for what this band represents, but it’s a superbrain for what serious jazz sounds like now.” And The Wall Street Journal proclaimed, “There hasn’t been a group to call itself ‘the All Stars’ — at least not without irony — since the death of Louis Armstrong, but this collective deserves the title more than any other band playing today.” According to jazz journalist Don Heckman in the CD’s liner notes, “The unique qualities of the SFJAZZ Collective — now firmly established — continue to make the ensemble one of the remarkable accomplishments of 21st century jazz. Each year, since the founding of the Collective in 2004, has brought musically adventurous new achievements.”
Jack Conte, of famed YouTube sensation Pomplamoose, has directed four videos of the Collective performing Wonder’s music. The first, “Superstition,” has received over 72,000 views on YouTube since its release. The three additional videos will be released in September and October to coincide with the Collective’s Fall 2011 tour (dates below). A full-length documentary of the group is currently in production. Directed by Ken Ellis, “Collective Wonder,” captures the group’s creative process with interviews, rehearsals and live performance.
The Collective’s 2011 personnel features MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner, three-time DownBeat “#1 Rising Star Alto Saxophonist” and founding member Miguel Zenón; trombonist Robin Eubanks, a two-time DownBeat “Trombonist of the Year,” trumpeter Avishai Cohen and Grammy-nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris. The incendiary rhythm section boasts 2010 Guggenheim Fellow Edward Simon on piano along with two of the most in-demand sidemen on the international scene — bassist Matt Penman and Eric Harland, winner of DownBeat “#1 Rising Star Drummer” for the last four years. The Collective has a decidedly global music perspective with musicians from Puerto Rico (Zenón), New Zealand (Penman), Venezuela (Simon) and Israel (Cohen).
In addition to its outstanding lineup, the SFJAZZ Collective has been praised for its innovative approach to repertoire. Each year, the ensemble performs a new list of compositions by a modern jazz master and new pieces by the Collective members (commissioned by SFJAZZ). Through this pioneering approach, the Collective simultaneously honors jazz history while evolving its own compositional style. After exploring the work of Ornette Coleman (2004), John Coltrane (2005), Herbie Hancock (2006), Thelonious Monk (2007), Wayne Shorter (2008), McCoy Tyner (2009) and Horace Silver (2010), the Collective takes on the material of pop music icon Stevie Wonder in 2011.
“Stevie’s music has a lot in common with great jazz music,” says Penman. “There are so many infectious grooves, a sense of joy and celebration, sophisticated harmonies that are great vehicles to improvise over and a general spontaneous feeling.”
To cultivate its distinctive sound, the SFJAZZ Collective convenes in San Francisco each spring for a multi-week residency. Throughout this extended rehearsal period — a rarity in today’s jazz — the octet rehearses the season’s new repertoire and interacts with the Bay Area community through SFJAZZ’s education programs for youth and adults. The Collective then takes to the performance stage, including home season concerts under the auspices of SFJAZZ and a national and international tour, with stops in some of the world’s most prominent concert halls and venues.
The idea for the Collective arose from discussions between SFJAZZ’s founder and Executive Artistic Director, Randall Kline, and saxophonist and original Collective member, Joshua Redman. While deeply respectful of jazz’s origins and early traditions, Kline was concerned that the modern side of jazz, from roughly the mid-20th-century to the present day, was often overlooked in the public eye in comparison with the so-called “Golden Age” of jazz. Both Kline and Redman were eager to showcase, in a manner that would resonate with jazz aficionados and newcomers alike, the artistic continuum from modern masters to today’s new generation of players.
SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder and New Compositions
Live in New York 2011 – Season 8
1. “Sir Duke” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Avishai Cohen
2. “Do I Do” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Eric Harland
3. “Family” – Avishai Cohen
4. “Blame It On the Sun” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Mark Turner
5. “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Miguel Zenón
1. “Race Babbling” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Robin Eubanks
2. “Visions” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Stefon Harris
3. “Orpheus” – Mark Turner
4. “Young and Playful” – Edward Simon
5. “The Economy” – Matt Penman
1. “Life Signs” – Stefon Harris
2. “Creepin’” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Matt Penman
3. “Metronome” – Robin Eubanks
4. “More to Give” – Miguel Zenón
5. “Eminence” – Eric Harland
6. “My Cherie Amour” – Stevie Wonder, arranged by Edward Simon
SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder and New Compositions, Live in New York 2011 – Season 8 is priced at $35 (plus tax and shipping). The physical 3-CD set is available exclusively at sfjazz.org and at the SFJAZZ Store (located at 3 Embarcadero Center, Lobby Level, San Francisco, CA 94111; phone 866-920-5299. SFJAZZ Members enjoy a 10% discount. The Collective’s new set will also be available at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and a variety of other online outlets worldwide.
SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE FALL 2011 TOUR
October 5 – McCarter Theater, Princeton, NJ
October 6 – Anderson Center, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
October 7 – Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
October 8 – Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD
October 9 – Music at Gretna, Elizabethtown, PA
October 12 – L’Astral, Montreal, Quebec, Canada *
October 13 – Ottawa Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada*
October 14 – Grand Theatre, Kingston, Ontario, Canada*
October 15 – Royal Conservatory, Toronto, Ontario, Canada*
October 18 – West Virginia University, Parkersburg, WV *
October 20 – Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel, IN*
October 21 – Dalton Center, Kalamazoo, MI*
October 22 – Indiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, IN*
* Note: Kendrick Scott substitutes for Eric Harland on these dates.
The Collective has released seven previous multi-CD sets since 2004, documenting their annual repertoire and featuring luminaries including Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano, Renee Rosnes, Brian Blade and other jazz stars. All recordings and more information on the SFJAZZ Collective’s history can be found at sfjazz.org. The Live 2010 set is also available at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other digital outlets.
Founded in 1983, SFJAZZ is the largest nonprofit presenter of jazz and education programs in the western United States. SFJAZZ presents over 100 concerts a year to over 100,000 fans and is dedicated to advancing the art form of jazz and cultivating new audiences through innovative programming, including: The San Francisco Jazz Festival, SFJAZZ Spring Season, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Summerfest, SFJAZZ Hotplate and SFJAZZ Education.
In May 2011, the organization broke ground on the SFJAZZ Center, a permanent home for SFJAZZ. This remarkable new facility, located in San Francisco’s vibrant Hayes Valley neighborhood, will be a 35,000 square-foot transparent freestanding structure designed by renowned architect Mark Cavagnero. With the SFJAZZ Center, jazz will take its place alongside major arts institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet in the Civic Center performing arts district. Visit sfjazz.org to learn more about this exciting new development.