The SFJAZZ Collective has plenty to shout about at the moment. The ensemble has released a new album in the past month, welcomed two new members to the group, announced the theme of its 2018-19 season and given details of its 2018 European Fall Tour.
The Collective, established by SFJAZZ in 2004, has an enviable international reputation, and reflects a truly multicultural group – with individual members from Baltimore, Miami, Oklahoma City, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Trinidad. Based at the SFJAZZ Center, the Collective’s aim each year is to perform a selection of original pieces – each written by each member – as well as new arrangements of numbers by a modern master of jazz.
The new release from SFJAZZ Collective – subtitled Live: SFJAZZ Center 2017 – was recorded at the SFJAZZ Center last October, and comes as a two-CD pack. One features the original compositions by members of the group, and the other is a selection of new versions of works by artists such as Ornette Coleman, Stevie Wonder and Thelonious Monk. These include Monk’s Criss Cross and Reflections, Coleman’s Una May Bonita and When Will the Blues Leave, and Sir Duke and Superstition by Stevie Wonder – each having been arranged by former members of the group, saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Dave Douglas, arranger Gil Goldstein or trumpeter Avishai Cohen.
And there’s a bonus DVD as well – which includes live footage of the Collective’s performances of The Music of Miles Davis, recorded at the SFJAZZ Center in October 2016.
The new members of the octet are trumpeter Etienne Charles – who replaces Sean Jones – and bassist Matt Brewer who steps into the shoes of Matt Penman. Both are obviously thrilled to be joining the group.
For Charles – a musician highly acclaimed for both his performances and his compositions – “it’s a dream come true” to join the line-up whom he describes as “… a group of some of my favorite musicians …. where each member puts their heart and soul into the music they write and play”. Hailing from Trinidad, he has performed and recorded with some of the finest names in jazz, holds a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. In June 2012, he was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World, and is Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University
Brewer – having a long history with many of the members, says he’s “really looking forward to making music with everyone”, adding “It goes without saying how high the SFJAZZ Collective’s musicianship is”. Born in Oklahoma City, he grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a family of musicians and artists. Following his education at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Juilliard Jazz Program, Matt Brewer played internationally with a host of topflight names, has been a frequent guest lecturer at the Banff Center, and is an adjunct faculty member at the New School University.
A 2016 video clip of the SFJAZZ Collective
Etienne Charles and Matt Brewer join founding member and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Edward Simon, and drummer Obed Calvaire to complete the line-up of eight artists who make up the SFJAZZ Collective.
Looking ahead to the 2018-19 Season, the Collective will continue to feature a repertoire of new compositions, whilst also paying tribute to the music of composer and pianist Antônio Carlos Jobim. World renowned for having created the ‘bossa nova style’, Jobim has been delighting lovers of Brazilian music since 1960s, and whilst regarded by some as the George Gershwin of Brazil, he also credits Claude Debussy as having had a strong influence on his harmonies, and the Brazilian samba for its effect on the fascinating rhythms of his music. Live recordings will be made of the Collective’s performances at the SFJAZZ Center during the forthcoming season, and will be released on the ensemble’s next album, scheduled for release in early 2019.
Also taking place in the early part of the 2018-19 Season is the Collective’s European Fall Tour which will also feature their latest compositions and the music of Jobim. The tour includes appearances in Belgium, Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.
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