3

SFJAZZ Collective: Phoenix, AZ, March 21, 2013

Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
SFJAZZ Collective
Musical Instrument Museum
Phoenix, AZ
March 21, 2013

The SFJAZZ Collective delivered an intense contemporary-jazz performance that showcased the playing and composing skills of this stellar octet, sponsored since 2004 by the non-profit SFJAZZ.

The Collective's ninth annual tour is celebrating the genius of Chick Corea—the sixth keyboardist to be honored by the Collective—in new arrangements of the pianist's works, as well as original compositions, one each from the Collective's eight members. Previous tours have saluted saxophonists Ornette Coleman (2004), John Coltrane (2005) and Wayne Shorter )2008), and pianists Herbie Hancock (2006), Thelonious Monk (2007), McCoy Tyner (2009), Horace Silver (2010) and Stevie Wonder (2011).

Opening with "Matrix," from Corea's early acoustic period, the ensemble delineated the chart's powerful tension-and-release via alternating horn fragmentations. "500 Miles High," from Return to Forever's Light as a Feather (Polydor, 1973), may have lacked the ethereal voice of Flora Purim, but alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon blazed a fresh path, followed by explorations from arranger/vibraphonist Stefon Harris and pianist Edward Simon.

Zenón's "Grand Opening," written for the January premiere of the SF JAZZ Center, employed the four horns in duet formats, trumpeter Avishai Cohen commanding treble turf via fiery contrapuntal exchanges with tenor man David Sanchez, as drummer Obed Calvaire propelled with powerful intricacies. Simon's original, "Incessant Desire," was sparked by one of the best solos of the evening from Sánchez, his explosive riffs contrasting against the electronic overtones created by trombonist Robin Eubanks.

Bassist Matt Penman wrote the pop-style "Vegan Las Vegas," providing a foil for Zenón to rocket through elaborate runs, in contrast with Simon's minimalism and the tune's soulful four-horn harmonies. Sánchez's arrangement of Corea's "Crystal Silence" reflected the ethereal simpatico of the pianist's original 1972 ECM duo album of the same name with vibraphonist Gary Burton, via Harris and Simon's interplay. The multifaceted Eubanks wrote bright horn opportunities that boosted the tempo of "Shifting Centers" into a hard-driving set closer.

The musicians moved into the wings, but vigorous applause quickly brought them back for Harris' "Let's Take a Trip to the Sky," dedicated to his wife and opening with dreamy piano moves accented by climbing harmony horn lines and supported by the vibes' rich depth and dimension.

The group's well-chosen name accurately conveys the concept that all members contribute to the aggregation, which legitimately could have been called the SFJAZZ All-Stars, so formidable is each of these musicians in playing prowess and writing ability. But it is the dynamic synergy of the ensemble that results in its exhilarating sound. With members from Puerto Rico, Israel, Venezuela, New Zealand, New York and Philadelphia, the band is living proof that jazz remains an international language.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read FORQ at The World Cafe Live Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "The Comet Is Coming at Black Box" Live Reviews The Comet Is Coming at Black Box
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Rigas Ritmi 2017" Live Reviews Rigas Ritmi 2017
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Balé Folclórico de Bahia at Zellerbach Hall" Live Reviews Balé Folclórico de Bahia at Zellerbach Hall
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit" Live Reviews 2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 28, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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