SF Jazz Collective SF Jazz Collective
Ever since saxman Joshua Redman chose jazz over law, he has been one of the most acclaimed, diverse and in-demand performers on the scene. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the SFJazz Collective (SFJC), a stellar ensemble of players whose mission is to honor important jazz composers, as well as showcase its own commissioned works. The band's show at Rose Hall in March celebrated the works of John Coltrane and its new self-titled CD pays tribute to Ornette Coleman. And although the featured composers and lineups varied from show to disc (Isaac Smith was on trombone, Matt Penman played bass and Eric Harland was on drums at Rose) and the commissioned pieces too self-conscious at times, the music remained energetic and inventive.
Bobby Hutcherson sets the pace on marimba on the opening tune, the African-influenced "Lingala, penned by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenòn. In the wake of Hutcherson's sparkling vibe solo, the colors of the horns, featuring Redman (tenor), Nicholas Payton (trumpet) and Josh Roseman (trombone), pulse and brighten, leading to a blazing solo by Zenòn. Coleman's "Peace begins with a typically languid yet complex horn statement, then Zenòn builds another strong alto statement, with Redman nipping at his heels on soprano. Roseman's trombone solo takes the song to Dixieland.
Renee Rosnes' exhilarating piano solo is the centerpiece of "Of This Day's Journey, with drummer Brian Blade and bassist Robert Hurst right along for the ride. Another Coleman tune, "When Will the Blues Leave, features Payton's soaring, fluttering, growling trumpet. Redman's sultry soprano highlights his own composition "Rise and Fall and the disc ends on a humorous note with Hutcherson's "March Madness, everyone contributing nice solos and the horns inserting quotes from "The William Tell Overture and "76 Trombones.
Redman is also the leader and co-founder of the Elastic Band, whose groove-driven trademark is an inclusive blend of jazz, funk and rock. The band's second disc, Momentum, features jazzmen like Payton, Blade and Kurt Rosenwinkel playing alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, ?uestlove of The Roots and MeShell NdegeOcello.
"Sweet Nasty features Redman blowing, co-founder Sam Yahel's organ and the drumming of Blade - a funky little jaunt. Redman plays some bar-walking tenor, then Yahel sprints behind him for a swift organ solo. On "Shut Your Mouth, Redman's hoarse, laughing harmonics are garlanded with psychedelic effects from Yahel. Payton joins Redman for the brisk and funky cover of Led Zeppelin's "The Crunge and Sheryl Crow's "Riverwide is interpreted with a blue moodiness. Yahel may play the clavichord on this cut. "Greasy G contains an old school wah-wah guitar riff and sweet lowdown bass work by NdegeOcello.
A hint of the SFJC finds its way to Momentum in the band's cover of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman, Redman blowing dramatically over a frenetic drum riff. "Blowing Changes and "Showtime are more sketches than full-blown songs. "Double Jeopardy is a hot, bass-driven groove and "Put It In Your Pocket features great interplay between Redman and Payton over ?uestlove's drums.
SF Jazz Collective
Tracks: 1) Lingala; 2) Peace; 3) Of This Day's Journey
4) When Will the Blues Leave; 5) Rise and Fall; 6) Una Muy Bonita; 7) March Madness
Personnel: Bobby Hutchersonvibraphone, marimba; Joshua Redmantenor, soprano saxophones; Nicholas Paytontrumpet Miguel Zenonalto saxophone; Josh Rosemantrombone Renee Rosnespiano; Robert Hurstbass; Brian Bladedrums
1) Soundcheck; 2) Sweet Nasty; 3) Just A Moment; 4) Shut Your Mouth; 5) The Crunge; 6) Riverwide; 7) Greasy G; 8) Lonely Woman; 9) Swunk; 10) Blowing Changes; 11) Double Jeopardy; 12) Put It In Your Pocket; 13) Showtime
Personnel: Joshua Redmantenor saxophone; Sam Yahelorgan; Jeff Ballard, Brian Blade, ?uestlovedrums; Eric Krasno, Jeff Parker, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Peter Bernsteinguitar; Nicholas Paytontrumpet; Stefon Harrisvibraphone; Flea, MeShell NdegeOcellobass