Release date: April 2006
SFJazz collective is an eight piece band featuring Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone), Joshua Redman (saxophone), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Miguel Zenon (saxophone and flute), Renee Rosnes (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Eric Harland (drums), and Andre Hayward (trombone). Musical director is Joshua Redman and arrangments are by Gil Goldstein. The SFJazz Collective convenes in San Francisco each spring for a three-week residency which doubles as both an extended rehearsal period of the repetoire for the new season and as workshops and interaction points in jazz education programs in the San Fransisco area. The Collective then takes to the performance stage, including home season concerts under the auspices of the SFJazz Spring Season and a national and international tour. The pattern is to concentrate on the work of one jazz composer each year (together with new compositions by the band). Year One concentrated on the music of Ornette Coleman (available as the excellent album “SF Jazz Collective”).
2 gives selection of the live material performed in 2005 and John Coltrane is the highlighted composer. Four John Coltrane compositions are featured (Moment’s Notice, Naima, Crescent and Africa), together with four original compositions (Scrambled Eggs (Nicholas Payton), Half Full (Joshua Redman), 2 and 2 (Miguel Zenon) and Development (Eric Harland). At over 70 minutes, this is a significant immersion in high quality, thought provoking jazz.
The result is very richly textured octet jazz with some very fine playing, leading almost to a big band sound. The danger in expanding beyond the quartet or quintet size is always that the gains in increased sound palette are offset by lack of focus. But here the arrangements of Gil Goldstein have worked well in maintaining direction in the music. (The only track we would object to is Scrambled Eggs, where showboating seems to prevail).
Bobby Hutcherson may be the elder statesman of the group yet it is clear that the quality of his influence that was so strong in the Blue Note heyday has not been diminished by the passing of forty years. Listen, for example, to his playing on John Coltrane's "Naima", without doubt the highlight of the album.
In fact 2 is only about half of the recorded material produced in the second SFJazz Collective season. For the full 2 CD set (which includes two further John Coltrane compositions (26-2 and Love/Dear Lord) and further compositions by the group (Love Is Enough (Renee Rosnes), Hmm…(Isaac Smith), Sega Games (Matt Penman) and Psalm for Peggy (Bobby Hutcherson)), go to the SFJazz website.
This year (2008) will feature music by Wayne Shorter. See the website for concert schedule details.
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