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StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: SFJAZZ Collective plays Sly and Miles


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This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring the SFJAZZ Collective, who will be coming back to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, March 14 at The Sheldon.

Formed in 2004, the SFJAZZ Collective is an eight-member, all-star group that's based at San Francisco's presenting and producing organization SFJAZZ, while drawing players from all over the country.

The band's personnel has evolved over the years, as individual members have moved on and been replaced, but they've continued to follow a basic blueprint for an annual album and tour. Each year, the group's members create original arrangements based on the works of a specific composer, then come together to perform that material, first in a local residency in San Francisco, then in a recording session and, finally, on tour.

There are a couple of new twists this year, though, as rather than focusing on a single composer, the Collective is re-imagining material from two celebrated albums released in 1969, Sly and The Family Stone’s Stand! and Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way.

In addition, to facilitate that material, this year's edition of the band features its first-ever vocalist, Martin Luther McCoy, and first guitarist, Adam Rogers. Trumpeter Etienne Charles (who, coincidentally, is playing here this week leading his own band at Jazz St. Louis) is the other new addition this year, joining previous members David Sanchez (tenor sax), Warren Wolf (vibraphone), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Brewer (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums).

You can get a small taste of what the Sly/Miles project is like in the first video up above, created by SFJAZZ to promote the tour and album.

You can see short videos that give a taste of the Collective's arrangements of Davis' “In A Silent Way" and Stone's “You Can Make It If You Try" and “(I Want To Take You) Higher," followed by a short clip of them rehearsing Sly's “Sex Machine."

The final video shows how the Collective implemented their approach on another famous Davis piece, the title track of Bitches Brew, as performed by the 2016 version of the band.

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