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SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder and New Compositions: Live in New York 2011, Season 8

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There are lots of advantages to a musical collective, at least the way such an entity is operated by SFJAZZ, the organization behind multiple inspired jazz initiatives in San Francisco. SFJAZZ Collective has an occasionally shifting lineup, sometimes gaining and losing high-profile members as they enter and exit other projects. The group regularly shifts its repertoire, having previously taken on the music of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman and others. And the octet has the option of alternately sounding like a small combo or a little big band, an aptitude nicely displayed on last year’s release, featuring arrangements of Horace Silver compositions.

New season, same lineup, new material and new recording location for the Collective, founded in 2004 by Joshua Redman (not aboard this year). For the first time, the Collective salutes a pop composer, with eight engaging, often-surprising arrangements of Stevie Wonder tunes plus eight originals. The music, recorded over five nights at the Jazz Standard in New York City, again is spread across three discs and accompanied by an impressively designed booklet detailing the project and its participants.

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