Sunday, April 02, 2006

SF Jazz Collective - 2 (Nonesuch, 2006)

The Joshua Redman led SFJazz Collective super group (Redman, soprano and tenor; Miguel Zenon, alto saxophone; Nicholas Payton, trumpet; Isaac Smith, trombone; Renee Rosnes, piano; Bobby Hutcherson, vibraphone and marimba; Matt Penman, bass; and Eric Harland, drums) plays the kind of music that is reminiscent of the good natured jamming of the old JATP tours, complete with enthusiastic applause. The music on this album has a slick and polished sound even when recorded live. Each year, the group pays tribute to a distinguished composer with new arrangements of their music along with some original compositions. This year's honoree is John Coltrane. The group plays the melody of "Naima" in a beautifully wistful manner before giving way to Bobby Hutcherson, who solos very well, getting a ringing resonating sound from his instrument. Pianist Rene Rosnes is featured on "Scrambled Eggs," while "Half Full" also builds slowly to a fleet piano solo.

"2 and 2" works in some intense horn soloing over the bands riffing before the music backs off into a probing tenor saxophone solo and an impressive drum solo. The Coltrane composition "Crescent" takes on a darker hue, with some fine trumpet from Nicholas Payton - it would have been very interesting (to me anyway) to see what this band would have done in interpreting one of Coltrane's late free performances. "Africa" starts dark and mysterious before an intense and very Trane-like tenor solo breaks loose. The album is rounded out by the original "Development," which starts with a world music like feel and moves into a upbeat pyrotechnic Payton solo. While no new ground is broken on this disc, there is plenty of fine playing from all concerned. Fans of the musicians involved and of mainstream jazz should enjoy this CD.

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