The Jazzcat

The SF Jazz Collective 2005 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall!!

by on Apr.09, 2005, under News



Slide Show


Randal Kline, the

executive director of the non-profit organization known as “SF Jazz”

steps out on stage to greet the audience at the Walt Disney Concert

Hall. As he has done for each of the performances that I have seen of

the SF Jazz Collective, Randal runs down a little about the mission of

the organization. SF Jazz stands for the growth and celebration of the

music and the audience as an ever-changing live art form.




As we continue to

experience jazz in 2005 and beyond, it is essential to respect and

explore the polar opposite sides of the jazz spectrum. Their

similarities, their differences and the essence that is the

deoxyribonucleic acid that holds the structure of the spectrum together

through the vortex of time.


Jazz music is similar

to human cell division because each time you collaborate with another

player, a new bond is formed consisting of one part of each player.

That bond spreads, replicates, separates, mutates and transforms with

every musical exchange and interaction. Can you imagine the potential

wealth of knowledge that each musician has living within them?

Now flash to the SF

Collective: Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Miguel Zenon, Nicholas

Payton, Renee Rosnes, Issac Smith, Eric Harland and Matt Pennman. These

cats are like the superheros of jazz that have combined their musical

powers and created a dynamic entity that represents a monolithic point

in the spectrum. A point that is important to witness and experience

now because even though you may not be playing an instrument, your

audible participation allows you to take a piece of the strand with you

for your future benefit and enhancement as well.


I am always very

excited to see this band of master musicians because of their

dedication to the music, their choice of legends to represent and their

collaborative efforts that are the results of historic replicating

musical bonds!


image image image


The snap snap snap of

Joshua’s fingers kick off the first tune in a “Moments Notice” Last

year it was Ornette and this year it is the music of the Trane!  One

of the things that I say to people when they start talking to me about

jazz is, “Quick, name 3 of your favorite jazz musicians in 5 second GO!

One, two, three, four, five, STOP!” You would be amazed what some

people come up with. For me, this usually separates the pseudos out

instantly and I can decide on which hemisphere to have a jazz

conversation on or not to have it at all. But, if you ask this question

to the SF Collective, the answer would be an impressive Ornette

Coleman, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock. A conversation that I could

engage in for hours!




On Naima, Bobby’s

beautiful melody resonates throughout the entire concert hall. This is

a musician who is loved by all and all of that love, heart and

compassion for sound is present behind each mallet stroke. You hear

this gorgeous, continuous, emotionally moving, hedonistic tone that

sustains forever in a garden of happiness!


The wide influence of

John Coltrane’s music is practically synonymous with the word jazz.

Joshua is always the eloquent spokesman for the group and he speaks

between pieces about some of that influence, spiritual implications and

the beautiful complexities that Coltrane compositions provide.




“Africa” seems to be

a common theme for my main man “E”(Eric Harland). Every time he plays a

tune with the word “Africa” in it, he just transcends the music and

places you right in the heart of the motherland. Weather he is playing

with the Collective, Charles Lloyd or Mc Coy Tyner, Eric’s

sensibilities and natural versatility just spill out all over his drum

kit. He must have the elders hovering above with smiles and plenty of

nods of approval. A Cartier, a Rolex, a Brightling with the durability

of a Timex. Tick, Tick, Tack! He is truly a gifted individual. I got a

kick out of watching Bobby sit back and watch Eric get down. In his

smiles of elation, you could see that Bobby’s lovely blessings opened

the door to the drum master hall of fame and that there was an empty

chair with Eric’s name on it. What an honor!


For those of you who

have not yet grasped or experienced the beauty of John Cotrane music

fear not! This is Trane beautified and you will be lavished with long

tone love. The front line horn section has a dynamic sound full of

four-part luster. Of course the sound at the Disney has to be on of the

most pristine that there is. I tell you what; if you ever visit the

Hollywood Bowl or the Walt Disney Concert Hall, try one of their

brownies. The music taste just like that!

The one cat that I am

not so familiar with is bass player Matt Pennman. He is from Austria

and Matt holds up the bottom extremely well on a bed of well placed

creativity, especially on a tune that he wrote called “Sega Games”.

Renee, of course, is dreamy. She is so fluid with chord progressions

that take off in all of the right directions. She is a regular musical

Mapquest herself.




Part of the mission

of the SF Jazz Collective, as you may recall, is exploration. Each

player has taken their own compositions and bestowed it upon the

Collective for the group to add their collaborative flavor. Tonight we

heard original pieces from Matt, Miguel, Nicholas, Bobby and Joshua.




Isaac Smith really

gets to stretch out on a few of these compositions. It is so great to

have one of Los Angeles’s fine players representing the future of the

music. The trombone is such a beautifully sounding instrument and Isaac

cuts his quarter of horn pie extremely well. I hear Isaacs humor in his

playing as well which is delightful to recognize.




Nicholas is like the

cream that sits on top of a tasty drink! His tone is pure, clean and

lovely as that starburst blasts it’s twinkle on the rim of his shinny

trumpet. His piece “Scrambled Eggs” was based on the changes to Chick

Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty” Only this was Humpty with some ear rings,

Armani shades, a Kangol worn backwards and the fall off the wall only

improved his cool ass stroll! 


“2&2” had a

funky, hip creative phrasing that pauses in a silence which creates

it’s own sound and then flourishes with colors of melodic love and

conversations that speak with so much passion in their statements. This

is just a small look into the creative brain of Miguel Zenon!




Matt’s opening bass

solo was spotlighted on Joshua’s “Half Full”. Miguel’s flute soured

over the most interesting mix of sound. I think that out of all of the

original compositions that we heard that night, Joshua’s piece had

everyone in the band contributing a significant portion and it sounded

like this piece was written especially for each of these particular

musicians. He certainly possesses that Ellington like quality.




They continued to

play “Cresent” and came back onstage for an Encore, performing a

composition by Bobby called, “Song for Peggy”. Next year it will be the

music of Herbie Hancock and in May of this year, a new SF Jazz

Collective 3 disc set will be released. Don’t ask questions, do the

right thing and just buy it. It’s your life!


LeRoy Downs

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