Following explorations of such jazz masters as Coltrane, Hancock, Monk and Tyner, the adventurous SFJAZZ Collective now sets its sights on the music of the one-and-only Stevie Wonder for its visit to Segerstrom Center's Jazz Series March 23 and 24 in Samueli Theater. The SFJAZZ Collective will perform timeless hits by Wonder including "Superstition," "Sir Duke," "My Cherie Amour," "Visions," "Blame it on the Sun" and "Do I Do" as well as all-new original compositions by Collective members. The ensemble's roster includes tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland. Alto saxophonist Antonio Hart will substitute for original Collective member Miguel Zenón who is on paternity leave. A free Preview Talk with Bubba Jackson, host of Jazz at Six on KKJZ-FM, will take place before the first performance on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Samueli Theater.
Tickets to see the SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder are $62 and available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 15 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746.
A Motown Records star at 11 years old, Wonder released a string of classic pop albums in the 70s that fused elements of 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, but respected by music critics and colleagues. Winner of 25 Grammys® (plus a Lifetime Achievement Award) Wonder was recently honored with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, presented to him by President Barack Obama.
In addition to its lineup, 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, the Collective simultaneously honors jazz history while evolving its own compositional style. 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 took on the material of pop music icon Stevie Wonder with its recently released SFJAZZ Collective: Music of Stevie Wonder and New Compositions, Live in New York 2011 – Season 8.
The idea for the Collective arose from discussions between SFJAZZ's founder and executive artistic director, Randall Kline, and saxophonist and original Collective member Joshua Redman. While deeply respectful of jazz's origins and early traditions, Kline 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 so-called "Golden Age" of jazz. 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.
Past Collective lineups have featured luminaries including Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano, Josh Roseman, Renee Rosnes, Robert Hurst, Brian Blade and other jazz stars. SFJAZZ Records has released seven 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.