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SFJAZZ Collective

Launched in 2004, the SFJAZZ Collective, whose alumni include great musicians like Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano and Joshua Redman, features some of the most gifted soloists, composers and bandleaders on the contemporary scene: alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, bassist Matt Penman, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, pianist Edward Simon, trombonist Robin Eubanks, drummer Obed Calvaire and vibraphonist Warren Wolf. It’s a singular international ensemble with a multi-voiced sound of its own, seamlessly merging improvisation and composition, structure and elasticity, into a satisfying whole. The SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco is the group’s home base.

Each year, the SFJAZZ Collective creates and performs eight new works and eight new arrangements of tunes by an honored artist. Past honorees include Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, Stevie Wonder, and Chick Corea. In 2015, the Collective will perform new arrangements of the bracingly original music of Joe Henderson, the late tenor saxophone giant, multiple-Grammy winner, and composer who lived in San Francisco and was long associated with SFJAZZ.

In addition to its outstanding line-up, the SFJAZZ Collective has been praised for its innovative approach to repertoire. Through this pioneering approach, simultaneously honoring jazz’s recent history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions, the Collective embodies SFJAZZ’s commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form. 

The SFJAZZ Collective demonstrates that jazz has truly become an international language. With members hailing from Puerto Rico, Baltimore, Miami, New York, Venezuela, Israel, and New Zealand, the Collective’s multi-cultural lineup mirrors the explosion of jazz talent around the globe. However, the jazz community only reached its current state by maintaining its traditions while simultaneously embracing innovation. This, too, is the essence of the SFJAZZ Collective. These exceptional artists come together in the name of jazz as a constantly evolving, quintessentially modern music.

The idea for the Collective arose from discussions between SFJAZZ’s founder and executive artistic director, Randall Kline, and saxophonist and founding Collective member Joshua Redman. While deeply respectful of jazz’s origins and early traditions, SFJAZZ 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 music of jazz’s so-called “Golden Age.” 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. Much like chamber music, the music is designed for a small group of instruments to be performed in intimate settings and atmospheres including performing arts centers, concert halls, and clubs.