The SFJAZZ Collective’s Album, Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder, won Outstanding Jazz Album at 45th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, CA on Friday, February 21, 2014. The 45th NAACP Image Awards is the nation’s premier multi-cultural awards show and celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors. The SFJAZZ Collective is the all-star award-winning jazz ensemble comprised of eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today. Launched in 2004 by SFJAZZ, the Collective is the all-star award-winning jazz ensemble comprised of eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today. The new SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco is the Collective's home base.
The Collective is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a spring tour starting March 16, 2014 at the Jazz Standard in New York City and an appearance at the 60th Anniversary Newport Jazz Festival in August 6. The tour will highlight their “best of” arrangements and original compositions from previous tours and releases including material from each of the Collective's tribute composers including Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, Stevie Wonder, and Chick Corea.
In addition to its outstanding line-up, the SFJAZZ Collective has been praised for its innovative approach to repertoire. Each year, the ensemble performs a new list of compositions by a modern jazz master and new pieces by the Collective members (commissioned by SFJAZZ). Through this pioneering approach, simultaneously honoring jazz's recent history while championing the music's up-to-the-minute directions, the Collective embodies SFJAZZ's commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form.
Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder was released in Fall 2012 and the featured Collective lineup includes alto saxophonist and founding member Miguel Zenón, trombonist Robin Eubanks, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. Recorded June 19-21, 2012 at New York University’s Steinhardt James L. Dolan Music Recording Studio, Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder is the definitive studio recording of the Collective’s arrangements of the music of Stevie Wonder.
“The studio recording was a great experience in every way,” says Zenon. “We had been playing the material for a long time, so musically we all felt very confident. The main difference between this experience and doing the live recording at Jazz Standard is we had a lot more control over the production aspect: we were able to add instruments, fix parts and make it tighter overall. The live recording does have a certain magic but the studio recording experience was equally great in other ways.”
Founded in 1983, SFJAZZ presents the greatest names in jazz, Latin and global music and nurtures the art of improvisation through its year-round concert, commissioning and education programs. The West Coast’s biggest jazz presenter serves over 200,000 fans and students every year and has several resident jazz ensembles, the world renowned SFJAZZ Collective and the award-winning SFJAZZ High School All-Stars.
After 30 years of using rented halls, SFJAZZ finally has a home. The luminous new SFJAZZ Center opened in January of 2013 and is the only stand-alone facility built specifically for jazz in the United States. The LEED Gold-certified building offers the superb acoustics of a great concert hall and the relaxed intimacy of a jazz club.