Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
442

SFJazz Collective: Live 2008: 5th Annual Concert Tour

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
SFJazz Collective: Live 2008: 5th Annual Concert Tour

SFJazz Collective is not unfamiliar with personnel turnover. Since the octet's debut in 2004, there has been at least one lineup change every year. This season, though, saw three new arrivals—the most notable being Joe Lovano, who succeeds Joshua Redman as Artistic Director. When you factor in Dave Douglas' addition in 2007, that means half the band (and most of the front line) was switched out in just over a year. As such, Live 2008 could be forgiven for being a transitional release. Fortunately, this date is anything but transitional, though upheaval is the order of the day.



Much of that comes from this season's spotlight artist, Wayne Shorter. While commotion isn't as prevalent in Shorter's work as with past SFJazz honorees like Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, there is an inherent intensity that makes undertaking Shorter's material even more daunting. Then there is the SFJazz sound, which in past years has reflected Redman's polished, precise style. For example, when the Collective tackled the dissonant bedlam of Thelonious Monk, you could still bounce quarters off the horn charts. But while Redman's attack is as flawless as a well-tuned Porsche, Lovano's is akin to the soul and passion of a vintage Ferrari.



The difference in approaches leaps out of the speakers from the first notes of Shorter's "Armageddon." The immense power that Collective fans have come to know is there in full flower—only this time, there is a buzz and an abandon that straightens the spine as Miguel Zenon solos over the piece's smoky, noir-like foundation. This effect is heightened when Robin Eubanks takes the spotlight—the operative word being "takes." Andre Hayward was no shrinking violet, but Eubanks gives SFJazz the steely command that helped the Dave Holland Quintet defy musical gravity. When combined with the newly-minted swagger of the Collective as a whole, the result is improvement where none seemed possible.



The love at the heart of every Shorter adaptation is undeniable: Stefon Harris' funky "Go" has the horns swooping like hungry eagles, Renee Rosnes deftly explores the balladic potential of "Diana," and Matt Penman's take on "El Gaucho" has an enthralling groove and a steely purpose. Unfortunately, this season's original material is not as consistent: Lovano's swinging "This, That and the Other" and Zenon's intricate "Frontline" makes the grade, but Douglas' "Secrets of the Code" can't stop meandering, and Eric Harland's political statement "The Year 2008" is encumbered by an overload of technology. Also, while Rosnes and Harris never work at cross-purposes, the symbiosis Rosnes shared with the departed Bobby Hutcherson is sorely missed.



Still, neither these rough spots nor the introduction of studio tracks (unheard of with SFJazz up until now) stops Live 2008 from being an overall success. The changes in sound and approach may take some Collective fans by surprise at first, but a few sittings with this epic 3-disc set will make converts of anyone expecting the same old thing.


Track Listing: CD1: Armageddon; Aurora Borealis; Infant Eyes; Go; Breakthrough; Yes and No. CD2: Secrets of the Code; El Gaucho; The Year 2008; Diana; Black Nile. CD3: Frontline; The Angels' Share; This, That and the Other; The Road to Dharma; Aung San Suu Kyi; Footprints.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor sax; Dave Douglas: trumpet; Stefon Harris: vibes; Miguel Zenon: alto sax; Robin Eubanks: trombone; Renee Rosnes: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: SFJAZZ | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
SFJAZZ Collective: Live SFJAZZ Center 2013 - The Music of Chick Corea &...
SFJAZZ Collective:...
SFJAZZ
2013
buy
[no cover]
Wonder: The Songs Of...
Nonesuch
2012
buy
SFJAZZ Collective: Live in New York Season 8 - Music of Stevie Wonder
SFJAZZ Collective:...

2011
buy
Live 2010: 7th Annual Concert Tour
Live 2010: 7th Annual...
SFJAZZ
2010
buy
Live 2009
Live 2009
SFJAZZ
2009
buy
Live 2008: 5th Annual Concert Tour
Live 2008: 5th Annual...
SFJAZZ
2009
buy
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Brian Blade Brian Blade
drums
Bill Bruford Bill Bruford
drums
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
Clark Terry Clark Terry
trumpet
Wayman Tisdale Wayman Tisdale
bass, electric
Craig Taborn Craig Taborn
keyboard
Jon Faddis Jon Faddis
trumpet
Renee Rosnes Renee Rosnes
piano

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.