The Jazzcat

The SF Collective at the Spring Season of the San Francisco Jazz Festival

by on Mar.21, 2007, under News


It is so wonderful to be in San Francisco.  The weather this weekend is extraordinary and

I have been treated like royalty by all my great friends in Oakland and in the City. This is my first concert of the spring season here at The

San Francisco Jazz Festival and of course, the group that I look forward to

hearing every year, The San Francisco Jazz Collective!  The band has changed a bit over the years but

the quality and integrity of the music will always remain in tact.


Randall Kline, who is the artistic director year round with

Joshua Redman, eloquently explains and answers the questions of the patrons and

subscribers in a scheduled question and answer session between the afternoon

and evening performances. The SF Jazz Collective is made up of the finest jazz

innovators in business today.



Joshua Redman, Dave Douglas, Miguel Zenon, Eric

Harland, Matt Pennman, Bobby Hutcherson, Andre Hayward and Renee Rosnes were

all selected not only for their skills as masterful musicians but, also for

their compositional skills as well. Each member of the collective writes a

composition especially for the collective and these tunes are played during the

performance along with one artist whose music will be celebrated for the

season. In past years the Collective has featured the music of Ornette Coleman,

John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and this year, we celebrate the music of

Thelonious Monk!


The SF Collective differs from other bands expressing variety

and color without being steeped in the tradition of the music. In the past, the

group had an arranger for all of the compositions but, this year many of the

cats are arranging their own music. The musicians were given a three week

residence to collaborate on new compositions. The decision was made to feature

an eight piece acoustic band with no electronic instrumentation that showcases

new music and not just new arrangements of the artist they are paying tribute

to. From San Francisco to Los

Angeles, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago

and all over, the band travels the world, made up of different genres,

different generations and music that supports their mission; which is to bring

great modern music together that is showcased and commissioned by the SF Jazz

organization. Next year for the 2008 season, artistic director Joshua Redman

will be replaced by Joe Lovano and Bobby Hutcherson will be replaced by Stefon




Now I had to make a quick dash up the street to grab some

chicken curry before the performance so I did not catch the cats from the first

hit but, I got there in the middle of “Well You Needn’t” and let me tell you

with Monk compositions and the caliber of talent on stage, you know it was hot!

The Collective has had a very long day. They were at Herbst Theater at 12:30pm

for sound check, had their first performance at 3pm and were back on the stage

for the 7pm performance still maintaining the energy and intense focus that

this music demands. Monk’s “Epistrophy” was arranged by Miguel Zenon while

Renee Rosnes arranged “Brilliant Corners.


Renee Rosnes is swinging some super Monk melodies taking the

music to higher dimensions with degrees of tempos that can cruise at 40mph or

take it up to 90 mph in no time flat. Dave Douglas, one of the newer additions to the band adds

his pitch and sharpness to the sound. Joshua Redman arranged “Ugly Beauty” and created some

beautiful melodies displayed by the front line. Andre Hayward brought some

brilliantly cool tones crossing the higher pitches of the other three

horns.  The front line at times pairs Andre

and Miguel up while trading with Joshua and Dave. Individually and harmonically,

the corners are brilliant!


Bobby Hutcherson captures the romance that echoes to the

heavens before he switches up and takes the lane straight to the hoop. Eric

Harland is there supporting in so many different capacities.  The touch he provides really is a solid

foundation for any grouping, rhythms, sambas or whatever the form is; super

versatile and an all encompassing ear the for the fine details in the music and

a great treasure to have as a solid part of this sound. And the cat that kills

in the back working extremely hard to keep the big bottom booming is Matt

Pennman who arranged Thelonious’ “Nellie Crepescule”.


The 8 piece sound is big and expounding upon vast and creative

ways to interpret. This is dynamic and extremely demanding music that has its

degree of challenge, but with much respect for a music that, has in a sense,

developed its own tradition. The texture and colors are so evidently felt by

the specific phrasing articulated by the players who are so solidly confident

in their solo and collective expressions. The arranging of Monk’s pieces are

done with the utmost respect for the man and his music!



LeRoy Downs

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