What a great way to close out Jazz Appreciation Month – a major International Jazz Day concert with a performance by the star-studded SFJAZZ Collective. It might be the octet’s first Jazz Series appearance but each member has been here previously, some many times over and most leading their own groups Tenor Saxophonist David Sanchez last performed at Murry’s more than a decade ago, overseeing at the time a quintet that included also saxophonist and now-MacArthur “Genius Award” Recipient Miguel Zenon – who, more recently performed there as a leader, too. A pair of Pennsylvania natives, Pittsburgh-born trumpeter Sean Jones and trombonist Robin Eubanks, whose noteworthy musical trail that includes younger siblings Kevin and Duane, cousins and famed pianist Ray Bryant, begins in Philadelphia.
The rest of the band incorporates an extended rhythm section that owns equally impressive credentials. We have Warren Wolf, one of the most energeticl and accomplished vibraphonists on the scene today; Venezuelan native Edward Simon, known to many the long-time pianist in Bobby Watson’s group Horizon; erstwhile bassist Matt Penman, who can claim fistfuls of recording and performing credits, and drummer Obed Calvaire, last seen in these parts performing with the Clayton Brothers Quintet.
Take eight performers of this caliber, put them together as the latest edition of SFJAZZ Collective, the ongoing concern with the rotating cast that alters its repertoire from season to season, and ask them to “work up” a program called “Miles Davis & Original Compositions,” and bound to have one heck of a presentation by a powerhouse aggregate that likely will blow the house – in this case appropriately enough The Blue Note – down.