The SFJAZZ Collective is an evolving all-star ensemble that features some of the most notable contemporary jazz musicians. SFJAZZ, a non-profit organization that presents the annual San Francisco Jazz Festival as well as various jazz education programs, created the group in 2004 to simultaneously pay tribute to past jazz masters and draw attention to the bright future of jazz.
Each year, the SFJAZZ Collective centers on the work of a single composer from the modern jazz era. The composers on which the group has focused have so far been Ornette Coleman (2004), John Coltrane (2005), Herbie Hancock (2006), Thelonious Monk (2007), Wayne Shorter (2008), McCoy Tyner (2009), and Horace Silver (2010). The 2011 SF Jazz Collective will present arrangements of the music of Stevie Wonder.
Additionally, each member of the ensemble is commissioned to compose a new piece each year. The list of past members of the SFJAZZ Collective includes saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, drummer Brian Blade, and others. The 2011 ensemble features saxophonists Mark Turner and Miguel Zenón, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and drummer Eric Harland.
The group engages in an annual 3-week residency in San Francisco, California, where they rehearse and perform pieces from their repertoire and provide educational programs for the Bay Area jazz audience. Following the residency are two tours, first in the U.S. and Canada, and then to venues all over the world. Each year, SFJAZZ releases a CD of highlight performances from the tour. The recordings are available through the SFJAZZ Collective website.