SFJAZZ Announces SFJAZZ Collective Spring 2011 Tour Dates - "The Music of Stevie Wonder"


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SFJAZZ Collective “The Music of Stevie Wonder

The award-winning all-star SFJAZZ Collective roster includes alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland.


  • February 25—Newmark Theatre, Portland Jazz Festival, Portland, OR

  • March 6—Napa Valley Opera House, Napa, CA
  • March 11- Herbst Theatre, SFJAZZ, San Francisco, CA
  • March 18—Schwartz Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • March 19—University Auditorium, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • March 20—University of North Florida Arts Center, Beaches Fine Arts Series, Jacksonville Beach, FL
  • March 22—Sewanee University of the South, Sewanee, TN
  • March 24—Hogg Memorial Auditorium, University of Texas, Austin, TX
  • March 25—University of Texas,Tyler, TX
  • March 26—Annette Strauss Artist Square, Dallas, TX
  • March 27—Alys Stephens Center, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
  • March 29—University of Chattanooga, TN
  • March 31-April 3—Jazz Standard, New York, NY

SFJAZZ Collective is an all-star jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performers and composers at work in jazz today. Launched in 2004 by SFJAZZ, the SFJAZZ Collective has quickly become one of the most exciting and acclaimed groups on the American and international jazz scenes. In addition to its outstanding line-up, the SFJAZZ Collective has been praised for its innovative approach to repertoire. Each year, the ensemble performs unique arrangements of compositions by a modern jazz master along with new pieces by the Collective members, commissioned by SFJAZZ. Given the elite talent assembled in the SFJAZZ Collective, it is tempting, on first glance, to think of this ensemble as just another “all-star band." But as the “Collective" portion of the group's name suggests, these exceptional artists have come together in pursuit of a larger purpose. 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 organizational commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form.

The Collective's 2011 personnel features MacArthur “Genius Grant" winner, three-time DownBeat “#1 Rising Star Alto Saxophonist" and founding member Miguel Zenón; trombonist Robin Eubanks, a two-time DownBeat “Trombonist of the Year," trumpeter Avishai Cohen, Grammy-nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris and the incendiary rhythm section boasts 2010 Guggenheim Fellow Edward Simon on piano along with two of the most in-demand sidemen on the international scene—bassist Matt Penman and Eric Harland, winner of DownBeat #1 Rising Star drummer for the last three years.

After exploring the work of Ornette Coleman (2004), John Coltrane (2005), Herbie Hancock (2006), Thelonious Monk (2007), Wayne Shorter (2008), McCoy Tyner (2009) and Horace Silver (2010), the Collective takes on the material of pop music icon Stevie Wonder for its spring 2011 tour. The group approaches the work of Wonder, an artist outside of the jazz tradition, but one whose sophisticated songcraft and timeless melodies are more than worthy of exploration.

A Motown Records star at 11 years old, Stevie Wonder released a string of classic pop albums in the 70's that fused his roots in the soul music of Detroit with elements of R&B, jazz and reggae into a singular vision that was both wildly successful on the charts and respected by music critics and colleagues alike. Winner of 25 Grammy's (plus a Lifetime Achievement Award), Stevie was recently honored with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, presented to him by President Barack Obama. Wonder's harmonically rich and spiritually uplifting songs are as timeless as those by George Gershwin and Cole Porter, and the Collective's members are eager to demonstrate the great jazz elements within them. The Collective will perform new arrangements of Stevie's work along with fresh original compositions by each of the eight Collective members.

“Playing Stevie Wonder's music with the SFJAZZ Collective is exhilarating because it's the music I grew up with," says Harland. “It's so great to now hear arrangements of some of those classics that I remember seeing my family dance to as a child. Now within the Collective family, it is an honorable opportunity to participate in Stevie's music not just as a listener but as a performer and arranger."

The SFJAZZ Collective is a workshop band unlike any other in jazz. The group features a changing lineup with each member hand-selected to contribute their own unique sounds, styles and voices. They are all distinguished not just by degree, but diversity of talent and each member is a celebrated instrumentalist, an outstanding composer and arranger, and most are among today's most lauded bandleaders. The Collective also presents a global music perspective with musicians from Puerto Rico (Zenón), New Zealand (Penman), Venezuela (Simon) and Israel (Cohen).

The idea for the Collective arose from discussions between SFJAZZ's founder and executive director, Randall Kline, and saxophonist and founding Collective member Joshua Redman. While deeply respectful of jazz's origins and early traditions, SFJAZZ was concerned that the modern side of jazz, from roughly the mid-20th-century to the present day, was often overlooked in the public eye in comparison with the music of jazz's so-called “Golden Age." Both Kline and Redman were eager to showcase, in a manner that would resonate with jazz aficionados and newcomers alike, the artistic continuum from modern masters to today's new generation of players. Much like chamber music, the music is designed for a small group of instruments to be performed in intimate settings and atmospheres including performing arts centers, concert halls and salons.

Past Collective members have included the likes of Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano, Josh Roseman, Renee Rosnes, Robert Hurst, Brian Blade and other jazz stars.

Each year, SFJAZZ Records produces a deluxe, limited edition CD set of live performance recordings of the SFJAZZ Collective's entire repertoire for that year. The current release, Live 2010: 7th Annual Concert Tour, features new arrangements of the classic works of Horace Silver, as well as all-new original compositions by Collective members. This is the definitive recording of this all-star jazz ensemble's seventh year of performances from around the world.

SFJAZZ Records has released six previous limited-edition CD sets since 2004, documenting the SFJAZZ Collective's complete annual repertoire in concert, as well as a concert DVD filmed at 2007's Jazz à Vienne Festival in France. All recordings and more information on the SFJAZZ Collective and SFJAZZ can be found at sfjazz.org.


Founded in 1983, SFJAZZ is the largest nonprofit presenter of jazz and education programs in the western United States. SFJAZZ presents over 100 concerts a year to over 100,000 fans and is dedicated to advancing the art form of jazz and cultivating new audiences through innovative programming, including: The San Francisco Jazz Festival, SFJAZZ Spring Season, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Summerfest, SFJAZZ Hotplate and SFJAZZ Education.

The organization has recently announced plans to build the SFJAZZ Center as a permanent home for SFJAZZ. This remarkable new facility, to be located in San Francisco's vibrant Hayes Valley neighborhood, will be a 35,000 square-foot transparent free-standing structure designed by renowned architect Mark Cavagnero. With the SFJAZZ Center, jazz will take its place alongside major arts institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet in the Civic Center performing arts district.

This story appears courtesy of Marshall Lamm Promotions & Public Relations.
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