Top Jazz Ensemble Brings New Arrangements of Chick Corea’s Work


LONE TREE, CO – From Grammy Nominees to a MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, the eight musicians that make up the SFJAZZ Collective have amassed nearly every accolade out there. This impressive ensemble of musicians will take the stage for one night only at the Lone Tree Arts Center (LTAC) on March 26 at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $36 to $48 and can be purchased online at www.LoneTreeArtsCenter.org or through the box office in person or at 720-509-1000.


Each year, the ensemble performs new arrangements of compositions by a modern jazz master and new compositions by the members, commissioned by SFJAZZ. Through this pioneering approach, honoring jazz history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions, the Collective embodies SFJAZZ’s commitment to jazz as a living ever-relevant art form. After exploring the work of Ornette Coleman (2004), John Coltrane (2005), Herbie Hancock (2006), Thelonious Monk (2007), Wayne Shorter (2008), McCoy Tyner (2009), Horace Silver (2010), and Stevie Wonder (2011-2012), the Collective now turns its sights on legendary pianist and composer Chick Corea.

The Concept

If you’re not already familiar with the eight artists who comprise the SFJAZZ Collective, you will be. As soloists, composers, and bandleaders, they represent what’s happening now in jazz. They also demonstrate that jazz has truly become an international language. Hailing from New York, Venezuela, Israel, Houston, Berkeley, and New Zealand, the Collective’s multi-cultural lineup mirrors the explosion of jazz talent around the globe. However, the jazz community only reached its current state by maintaining its traditions while simultaneously embracing innovation. This, too, is the essence of the SFJAZZ Collective. These exceptional artists come together in the name of jazz as a constantly evolving, quintessentially modern art form. Prior to going on tour, the band engages in a multi-week residency in San Francisco where they rehearse the year’s repertoire.

This includes rearrangements of work from a modern music master (this year, Chick Corea), plus all-new original compositions, commissioned exclusively for this ensemble by SFJAZZ. In addition, they mentor promising young musicians, including the acclaimed SFJAZZ High School All- Stars, through workshops and other outreach. The residency is a rare opportunity in the jazz world for such focused creativity, collaboration and preparation, and would not be possible without SFJAZZ institutional backing.


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.

Band Member Biographies

DAVID SÁNCHEZ, Tenor Saxophone, Member Since 2012

Among the great saxophonists to emerge at the end of the 20th century, Puerto Rican tenor virtuoso David Sánchez is in a class by himself. Following studies under the great Kenny Barron at Rutgers, the saxophonist was selected by jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie to join his renowned United Nation Orchestra. Sánchez went on to become a one of the most celebrated instrumentalists in jazz, recording nine albums as a leader and winning a Latin Grammy Award for his 2004 Columbia orchestral session, Coral. The five-time Grammy nominee has performed with a roster of greats including Charlie Haden, Eddie Palmieri, Roy Haynes, Tom Harrell and countless others. In addition to his work as a performer, Sánchez has an impressive résumé as an educator, conducting master classes, workshops and residencies at the world’s top universities and conservatories. His latest album is the Concord release Ninety Miles, a project recorded in Cuba and co-led by trumpeter Christian Scott and fellow Collective member, vibraphonist Stefon Harris.


STEFON HARRIS, Vibraphone And Marimba, Member 2008 - Present

Stefon Harris is committed to exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Harris has received numerous accolades including the Jazz Journalists Association’s “Best Mallet Player” for four years running (2000-2003) and “#1 Rising Star Vibraphonist” in the 2006 DownBeat Critics Poll. His string of Grammy-nominated albums for Blue Note includes Kindred, Black Action Figure, and The Grand Unification Theory. His latest release, 2009’s Urbanus, was Grammy nominated for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album.”


EDWARD SIMON, Piano, Member 2010 - Present

A 2010 Guggenheim Fellow, Edward Simon was born in the coastal town of Punta Cardón, Venezuela, where he grew up in a family of musicians surrounded by the sounds and rhythms of Latin and Caribbean music. Settling in New York City in 1989, he played with numerous jazz masters, including Herbie Mann, Paquito D'Rivera, Bobby Hutcherson, Bobby Watson, Terence Blanchard and Don Byron. He has produced seven critically acclaimed albums as a leader, including two New York Times top ten jazz records of the year: Edward Simon (Kokopelli, 1994) and Simplicitas (Criss Cross, 2005). Currently, Simon leads his own trio, Ensemble Venezuela, collaborates with saxophonist David Binney in the quartet Afinidad and also appears alongside his brothers in the group Simon, Simon & Simon.


MATT PENMAN, Bass, Member 2005 - Present

Originally from New Zealand, Matt Penman studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music before relocating to New York in 1995. In addition to releasing his own critically acclaimed CDs as a leader, Catch of the Day (2007) and The Unquiet (2002), he has recorded as a sideman on some 70 other discs and has performed with the likes of Joshua Redman, James Farm, Nicholas Payton, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Bartz, Kenny Werner, Nnenna Freelon, Madeleine Peyroux, Brian Blade, John Scofield and Guillermo Klein.


JEFF BALLARD, Drums, Member Since 2012

Jeff Ballard is one of the most original and inventive drummers in modern jazz. Raised in Santa Cruz, California, he cut his teeth in the Bay Area jazz scene before hitting the road with soul legend Ray Charles at the age of 25. He has since became a highly sought- after collaborator, working with an impressive cast of jazz luminaries including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Danilo Perez, Joshua Redman, Eddie Harris, Diane Schuur, Mike Stern and many others. Ballard’s seamless melding of jazz sensibility with rhythmic influences from around the world was displayed brilliantly as part of Chick Corea’s explosive Origin sextet and New Trio, with whom he performed for six years. Since 2002, Ballard has worked extensively with Fly, the eclectic trio he co-leads with tenor saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Larry Grenadier. In 2004, he again joined forces with Grenadier as a member of pianist Brad Mehldau’s vaunted trio – a high-profile group often compared to the timeless piano trios of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.


AVISHAI COHEN, Trumpet, Member 2010 - Present

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen is a leading figure on the international jazz scene and one of the most sought-after players of his generation – “an assertive and accomplished trumpeter with a taste for modernism” according to The New York Times. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen began performing at age 10 and toured the world with the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Relocating to the U.S. to attend the Berklee College Of Music, he placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Trumpet Competition in 1997. After developing his craft at New York’s Smalls jazz club alongside contemporaries such as pianist Jason Lindner and bassist Omer Avital, Cohen has expanded his sonic palette with his siblings Anat and Yuval in 3 Cohens.


ROBIN EUBANKS, Trombone, Member 2008 - Present

A five-time “Trombonist of the Year” in the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll, Robin Eubanks is the premier jazz trombonist of his generation. In addition to leading his own groups, EB3 and Mental Images, Eubanks has performed and composed on Grammy-winning recordings with Dave Holland and Michael Brecker. In addition, he has worked with music legends Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. The native Philadelphian, an acclaimed composer, is the recipient of composition grants from Chamber Music America and ASCAP. Robin is a sought-after educator and is now a tenured professor of trombone at the renowned Oberlin Conservatory.


MIGUEL ZENÓN, Alto Saxophone, Original Member from 2004

Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has released six recordings as a leader including the Grammy Nominated Alma Adentro (2011), which is a tribute to the Puerto Rican Songbook. As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as Charlie Haden, David Sánchez, The Mingus Big Band, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Bobby Hutcherson, Steve Coleman and the SFJAZZ Collective.  Zenón has been featured in articles on publications such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, as well as gracing the cover of Down Beat Magazine. He has also toped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the Down Beat Critic's Poll on four different occasions. As a composer, he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and many of his peers. Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all over the world, and is a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free Jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico.  In April 2008, Zenón received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Later that year he was one of 25 distinguished individuals chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant."


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 SFJAZZ Center, a permanent home for SFJAZZ, is currently under construction.  This remarkable new facility, located in San Francisco’s vibrant Hayes Valley neighborhood, will open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 21, 2013.  The SFJAZZ Center will be a 35,000 square-foot transparent freestanding structure designed by renowned San Francisco 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. Visit sfjazz.org to learn more about this exciting new development. For more information, please visit www.sfjazz.org.

About LTAC

The Lone Tree Arts Center is a professional, innovative and environmentally friendly, LEED Certified venue. LTAC operates a dynamic model for the performing arts by collaborating with some of the premier Colorado performing arts companies to present their productions in Lone Tree as well as presenting national and regional tours. LTAC has quickly discovered its place as a new provider of arts education programs for children and an important meeting and event rental site for corporate, civic, private, and community arts groups.

# # #