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Now in its 23rd year, SFJAZZ is the leading nonprofit jazz organization on the West Coast, annually presenting more than 250 concerts and educational events in the San Francisco Bay Area and reaching more than 100,000 people. SFJAZZ believes that jazz is a living, vital art built on a constantly evolving tradition and is dedicated to developing jazz audiences and nurturing the art form of jazz. SFJAZZ presents a wealth of year-round programs, including the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Jazz Festival, the SFJAZZ Spring Season under the artistic direction of Joshua Redman, the groundbreaking all-star resident ensemble SFJAZZ Collective, free summer outdoor concerts, and numerous youth and adult education programs.
About the Artists
Easily one of jazz's greatest vibraphonists, BOBBY HUTCHERSON (Vibes/Marimba) epitomized his instrument in relation to the era in which he came of age the way Lionel Hampton did with swing or Milt Jackson with bop. Along with Gary Burton, the other seminal vibraphone talent of the '60s, Hutcherson helped modernize his instrument by redefining what could be done with it - sonically, technically, melodically, and emotionally. In the process, he became one of the defining voices in the so-called "new thing" portion of Blue Note's glorious '60s roster. Hutcherson gradually moved into a more mainstream, modal post-bop style that still maintained his reputation as one of the most advanced masters of his instrument. Adding the marimba to his repertoire, Hutcherson remained active throughout the '80s as both a sideman and leader, recording most often for Landmark in a modern-mainstream bop mode. He spent much of the '90s touring rather than leading sessions; in 1993, he teamed with McCoy Tyner for the duet album Manhattan Moods. Toward the end of the decade Hutcherson signed on with Verve, for which he debuted in 1999 with the well-received Skyline.
A native of the Bay Area, composer and saxophonist JOSHUA REDMAN (Saxophones/Artistic Director) began his musical career in 1991. Having just graduated from Harvard with plans to pursue a law degree, he instead went on tour and recorded with his father, the legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman, as well as with other noted musicians, including Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Elvin Jones, and Paul Motian. The younger Redman created a sensation by taking first prize in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz saxophone competition that fall and landed a major record deal. To date, he has recorded ten albums as a leader, including 2002's Elastic, showcasing the 21st-century grooves of his sax-keyboard-drums trio, and a forthcoming disc to be released this spring on Nonesuch Records.. Redman has garnered numerous honors in his career, including multiple first-place finishes in the Rolling Stone Critics’ Poll, the Jazziz Readers’ Poll, and Down Beat's Critics’ and Readers’ polls.
One of the brightest new trumpet stars to emerge in the 1990s, NICHOLAS PAYTON (Trumpet) combines references to his New Orleans heritage with the Young Lions' brand of hard bop and a warm sound. His father, Walter Payton, a top bassist, and his mother, a classical pianist, encouraged his interest in music, and he received his first trumpet when he was four. One day when Payton was 12, Wynton Marsalis called to speak to his father; Nicholas spontaneously played his trumpet over the phone, impressing Marsalis, who would late recommend him to other bandleaders. A highly regarded leader in his own right for the past decade, Payton has built up an eclectic discography, from the classic New Orleans sound of the Armstrong centennial tribute Dear Louis to 2003's Sonic Trance, a genre-crossing voyage into jazz, funk, hip-hop, and beyond.
RENEE ROSNES (Piano) plays in an advanced and flexible hard-bop style. A native of Canada, she began piano lessons at age three and violin when she was five. She worked throughout Canada, performing on CBC Jazz Radio Canada shows, gigging with her trio regularly at a hotel and playing on the S.S. Rotterdam Cruise Liner. Rosnes moved to New York in 1985 and has played and/or recorded with a wide variety of artists, including Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, Jon Faddis, James Moody, the group Out of the Blue, Gary Thomas, and Robin Eubanks. In addition, she has recorded many excellent sessions for Blue Note as a leader. Renee Rosnes: Life on Earth was chosen by Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times as one of the Top 10 most compelling CDs of 2002. It was also No. 3 on the Top 10 list of the best CDs of 2002 by JazzTimes critic Ken Franckling. Her latest Blue Note disc is 2003's high-powered Renee Rosnes and the Danish Radio Big Band.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, MIGUEL ZENÓN (Alto Saxophone) got his start at the famed Escuela Libre de Musica, an institution that boasts such distinguished alumni as tenor saxophonist David Sánchez and percussionist Richie Flores. Zenón later studied jazz at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music and became active in the Boston area jazz scene, playing with drummer Bob Moses' Mozamba and the Either/Orchestra. He later gained widespread acclaim as a member of Sánchez's ensembles before releasing his own debut disc, Looking Forward-the No. 1 CD on the New York Times' "alternative" list of the 10 best albums of 2002. In early 2004 he followed up with the widely praised disc Ceremonial (Marsalis Music) and gave the concert premiere of a new major composition, Jibaro Journeys: Music From the Mountains of Puerto Rico, commissioned through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.
A Los Angeles native and a graduate of UCLA, ISAAC SMITH (Trombone) studied trombone with masters such as Slide Hampton and Curtis Fuller before taking long-term, high-profile sideman jobs with the likes of conguero Francisco Aguabella and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra. As a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra from 1997 through 2002, Smith backed up jazz luminaries such as Shirley Horn, James Moody, Stanley Turrentine, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. After his move to New York City in 2001, Smith collaborated with Benny Golson, Randy Brecker, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra. Currently, Smith performs with the Mingus Big Band and rap star Snoop Dogg, among others. He has also led a range of his own ensembles, from a quartet to a 20-piece big band. His recording credits include bass legend Miroslav Vitous' highly praised 2003 CD, Universal Syncopations.
Originally from New Zealand, MATT PENMAN (Bass) came to the U.S. after receiving a scholarship from Boston's Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Herb Pomeroy and Hal Crook. In 1995, he relocated to New York and has since been performing and recording with a variety of artists in the city and abroad. His wide-ranging musical interests have led to his participation in numerous jazz and world-music collaborations and workshops, particularly in Europe and Turkey, along with a variety of projects in electronic and singer/songwriter spheres. Penman's playing and compositions are showcased on the international quartet Flipside's self-titled CD (1998) and on the bassist's own critically acclaimed CD as a leader, The Unquiet (2002). Penman has also recorded as a sideman on approximately 50 CDs and has played with such accomplished artists as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Seamus Blake, Gary Bartz, Kenny Werner, Nneenna Freelon, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, and Guillermo Klein.
ERIC HARLAND (Drums) is an ordained minister as well as one of the most in-demand drummers on the national jazz scene. Harland was discovered by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis while the drummer was still a high school student in his native Houston. Encouraged by Marsalis to head for New York, Harland attended the Manhattan School of Music and then studied theology at Houston Baptist University. He has appeared on more than 25 recordings as a sideman, including Terence Blanchard's Let Get Lost and Wandering Moon and Stefon Harris' Black Action Figure. With Blanchard, he has also performed on the scores for 18 films, including Bo Jangles, Caveman's Valentine, and Original Sin. His long list of first-tier collaborators includes Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd, McCoy Tyner, Zakir Hussain, Joshua Redman, Wynton Marsalis, and John Patitucci. In Down Beat's 65th Annual Readers Poll, Harland was included in the short list of top drummers, in the company of legends such as Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes.
GIL GOLDSTEIN (Arranger), 2004 Grammy-winner for his arrangement on Michael Brecker's CD Wide Angles, is one of the most in-demand arrangers in jazz today. His extensive credits include charts for Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Milton Nascimento, James Moody, the New York Voices, and numerous other renowned artists. He has also contributed orchestrations to film scores by Metheny (A Map of the World), Ryuichi Sakamoto (including Little Buddha and Wild Palms), and others. Goldstein's production credits include CDs by Metheny, Hall, Brecker, Bobby McFerrin, and Mike Stern. Also an accomplished instrumentalist in his own right, he has recorded or performed with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Joe Lovano, and the Gil Evans Orchestra. His own recordings as a leader include Zebracoast, City of Dreams, and (with saxophonist Dave Liebman) West Side Story (Today).