WBGO Blog
  • Behind The SFJAZZ Collective's Original Approach To Joe Henderson

    March 19, 2015

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    The SFJAZZ Collective: (L-R) Avishai Cohen, Matt Penman, Obed Calvaire, Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez, Robin Eubanks, Warren Wolf, Edward Simon. (Image Credit: Jay Blakesberg/Courtesy of SFJAZZ)

    The SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution in San Francisco, has an intriguing approach to repertoire. Each year, each member writes a new piece for the Collective, and also rearranges a composition by a modern jazz master. For the 2014-15 season, that master was tenor saxophone titan Joe Henderson, a longtime San Francisco resident.

    Jazz Night In America goes behind the creation of the ensemble's new repertoire, with music from a four-night concert run in October of last year (now collected on the double-CD release Live: SFJAZZ Center 2014). Hear Joe Henderson classics reimagined, as well as new work from artists like saxophonist David Sánchez and trombonist Robin Eubanks.

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • SFJAZZ Collective Plays Joe Henderson And More

    March 18, 2015

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    The SFJAZZ Collective. (Image Credit: Chuck Gee/Courtesy of SFJAZZ)

    Every year, each of the eight members of the SFJAZZ Collective is tasked with two writing assignments. The first: Compose a new piece specifically for the band, which gathers some of the most outstanding performers on the modern jazz scene. The second: Rearrange a composition by the elder artist that the Collective has chosen to feature that year. For the 2014-15 season, SFJAZZ is paying tribute to a tenor saxophone titan, a composer of classic tunes and a long-time San Francisco resident: the late Joe Henderson.

    From the purpose-built SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, Jazz Night In America features the SFJAZZ Collective as it reimagines Joe Henderson — both iconic standards like "Recorda-Me" and lesser-known material — and imagines new jazz works specifically for its own strengths.

    Personnel

    Miguel Zenón, alto saxophone; David Sánchez, tenor saxophone, Avishai Cohen, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Warren Wolf, vibraphone; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penman, bass; Obed Calvaire, drums.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Drummer Extraordinaire, Turns The Tables

    March 14, 2015

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    Albert Heath (Image Credit: Michael Perez/Courtesy of the artist )

    Albert "Tootie" Heath is one of the most accomplished jazz drummers of the past 60 years. The 79-year-old has played with everyone from John Coltrane to Ethan Iverson, the piano player for The Bad Plus. Iverson and bassist Ben Street join Tootie Heath for his new album, Philadelphia Beat, named for the fertile jazz city of Heath's upbringing — where, as a young man starting out, he once piloted a group consisting only of the drums and two horns.

    "That's a real strange instrumentation. I mean, most people need the bass, and a lot of people like a piano in there or some melodic chordal instrument — and we didn't have any of that," Heath says. "But the place across the street from where I lived, some adult people were good enough to let us come in there and play in it. It must have been awful. And one guy came up and gave us 75 cents as a tip. He was drunk, of course, and he walked away — 'Oh, you kids are great.' And I realized: That's a quarter apiece. Hey man, we can get paid doing this!"

    NPR's Arun Rath had been dying to interview Heath for years. When he got the chance, it turned out the artist had some questions for him, as well. Hear their conversation, including stories about needling his band with tough arrangements and learning from the jazzmen in his own family, at the audio link.

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.