Speak No Evil Jazz blog

Capital Public Radio's discussion of an art form born in America and celebrated worldwide.


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SFJAZZ Collective Interprets Michael Jackson At Brubeck Festival


The SFJAZZ Collective is, quite simply, one of the most talent-rich ensembles in contemporary jazz. Over the past decade, this all-star octet has saluted some of the most innovative composers in jazz,  reworking classic compositions by Ornette Coleman, Horace Silver, and John Coltrane, as well as developing their own commissioned compositions.

Each year, the Collective focuses on the work of a single composer, while also presenting their own original works.  For the group’s fall 2015 tour (which includes a stop at the Brubeck Festival in Stockton on October 17th), they’ve picked a name that might surprise you:  Michael Jackson.  The King of Pop’s repertoire has been explored previously by jazz keyboard masters Joey DeFrancesco and Mike LeDonne, but the expansive setting of this  larger group will certainly serve as a springboard for improvisation and bring new life to Jackson’s music.  

The band’s unique octet configuration gives it both the grand feeling of a big band, but also the intimate sensibilities of a smaller group. The richness of Warren Wolf’s vibraphone interacts beautifully with the rhythm section of Edward Simon (piano), Matt Pennman (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums). And then there’s always the expertly-crafted, searching sounds of saxophonists Miguel Zenon and David Sanchez.

The level of talent in this band allows them to read extremely complex charts with ease. Members of the band often compose and arrange with fellow band members in mind. “We write for the instruments, but also for the different personalities in the band,” says saxophonist Zenon.

Check out this band on tour! It’s a world-class multi-cultural group that represents the SFJAZZ organization and the City of San Francisco with class and distinction in every concert and recorded performance.

The SFJAZZ Collective will perform in a double bill with vocalist Karrin Allyson at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton as part of the annual Brubeck Festival on Saturday, October 17.  The group will also perform at the SFJAZZ Center October 22-25.

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