SFJAZZ Collective | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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SFJAZZ Collective

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On top of booking the San Francisco Jazz Festival every fall, nonprofit presenter SFJAZZ organizes events year-round; in 2000 it installed saxist Joshua Redman as the artistic director for its spring season of concerts. Last year it launched the SFJAZZ Collective, also under Redman's direction, and this week the high-powered octet makes its Chicago debut. The lineup combines youth with experience and celebrity with comparative obscurity. Alto saxist Miguel Zenon and drummer Eric Harland are relative newcomers; Redman and pianist Renee Rosnes are young veterans. There's spectacular trumpeter Nicholas Payton, a familiar face in town thanks to his frequent tours, and trombonist Isaac Smith, who's virtually unknown here despite a resume that includes work with big-band legend Gerald Wilson, saxist Benny Golson, and Snoop Dogg. One of jazz's grand old men, vibist Bobby Hutcherson, puts the cap on the roster, providing a vital link to the past--vital because the collective's mission is to celebrate one jazz giant each year, both by playing new arrangements of classic works and by commissioning a composition from each member of the octet. For their inaugural season, they did Ornette Coleman; this year it's John Coltrane, and the repertoire includes six Coltrane classics (imaginatively arranged by Gil Goldstein) mixed in with the eight new works. Fri 4/1, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $22-$52. All ages.

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