SFJAZZ Collective Celebrates Wayne Shorter

In 2004, SFJAZZ, a year-round organization based in San Francisco, launched the SFJAZZ Collective. Every season since, the group's members have focused their creativity on a different composer — in 2008, it was Wayne Shorter — as well as producing their own, new works. As trumpeter Dave Douglas says, "Learning everyone's piece and seeing how they work is an incredible eye-opener."

Wayne Shorter hired pianist Renee Rosnes when no one knew her. She arranges "Footprints" for the Collective, and solos authoritatively. Miguel Zenon's take on Shorter's "Armageddon" features Stefon Harris on vibraphone. The melody is "long, very bluesy," Miguel says, with minor-key chords "moving fast underneath." In his solo, Zenon repeats and accents a single melody note a la "Blues March" (Benny Golson) — and then he's off to something else. Listen more than once; this music deserves it.

Bassist Matt Penman's original work is "The Angels' Share." (When wine ages in the barrel, a little bit evaporates; it's called the angels' share.) Words from the Declaration of Independence open drummer Eric Harland's "The Year 2008," and lead to intense solos by tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, Rosnes and Harris. Harland marches us to the polls; 2008 was an election year.

Dave Douglas: trumpet

Miguel Zenon: alto sax

Joe Lovano: flute and tenor sax

Robin Eubanks: trombone

Stefon Harris: vibes

Renee Rosnes: piano

Matt Penman: bass

Eric Harland: drums

As for some news, the Collective is going into production with its sixth annual live CD, which will feature McCoy Tyner and more original compositions. 2010 will bring two personnel changes — Avishai Cohen on trumpet and Mark Turner on tenor sax — and a focus on the music of Horace Silver.

Credits: Thanks to recording and mix engineer Christopher Willis. Thanks also to James Fahey and Rebecca Mix at Chicago Symphony Center and Laura Evans at SF JAZZ.

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