Jazz demands individuality on the part of the performer, but the music falls apart if strong personalities can’t work together. So the SFJazz Collective, which is coming to the Folly Theater on Friday, April 27, specializes in finding ways to make strong personalities work together.
The SFJazz organization came together to create a festival in San Francisco, but then gave itself a trickier mission: Put together a band of strong individuals, task them with forming an identity as a band, and send them out on the road, every year. Through many personnel changes, they’ve managed to do these things stylishly annually since 2004.
Not all of the individuals are jazz stars (yet), but none of them is out of place in this fast company. The announced lineup for this show:
▪ Alto saxophonist and musical director Miguel Zenon, a critical favorite with a forceful but luminous alto sound that would make Charlie Parker happy.
▪ Tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, a poetic soloist.
▪ Trumpeter Sean Jones, an expansive soloist who has the right power when the tempo is up and the right mood when the tempo is down.
▪ Trombonist Robin Eubanks, a big-toned and persuasive player who’s been heard widely in Dave Holland’s bands and with the Mingus Big Band. (Former “Tonight Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks is his brother, and pianist Ray Bryant is his uncle.)
▪ Vibraphonist Warren Wolf. Kansas City audiences have heard him with Christian McBride and Bobby Watson.
▪ Pianist Edward Simon, another poetic player and longtime associate of Bobby Watson.
▪ Bassist Matt Penman, a versatile player who can connect with just about anybody, which is why he’s been in almost every SFJazz Collective so far.
▪ Drummer Obed Calvaire, whose resume says he’s worked with Mary J. Blige, Wynton Marsalis, Seal and Eddie Palmieri. Clearly an adaptable and open-minded artist.
Each year the collective focuses on the music of one artist; this time, it’s Miles Davis, the trumpeter whose changes in direction opened up new horizons for all of jazz. But the group also focuses on original pieces by the band members, and those should be provocative springboards as well.
The performance is at 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. Tickets are $20 to $55 at follytheater.org or 816-474-4444.
▪ On Sunday, April 22, BBQ will have a slightly different meaning in Kansas City as the Brubeck Brothers Quartet comes to town. Drummer Dan Brubeck and bassist, trombonist and composer Chris Brubeck grew up in a house full of music as sons of pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, and like him, they aren’t afraid of rhythmic intricacy or harmonic challenges, and they aren’t afraid to swing out. The quartet performs at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St.
▪ The next live performance/recording session for the “12th Street Jump” radio show salutes bassist Ron Carter, with house bassist Tyrone Clark doing the honors. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at the Black Dolphin, 1813 Grand Blvd.
▪ The Black Dolphin is also bringing something quite different to town. Pianist-composer Uriel Herman, an Israeli who says he works at the intersection of jazz and rock, performs in the club at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27.
▪ The Blue Room also has trombonist Jason Goudeau in charge of the Monday jam, at 7 p.m. on April 23; the Kansas City Latin Jazz All-Stars at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26; keyboardist Max Groove at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27; and tenor saxophonist Arthur White and his Merge band at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.
▪ The Westport CoffeeHouse Theater, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., has tenor saxophonist Brad Gregory’s sextet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25.
▪ The Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., has drummer Natalie Bates’ quartet at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22; organist Chris Hazelton’s trio at 6 p.m. Monday, April 23, followed by the Villinger-Schlamb Trio at 10:30 p.m.; guitarist Matt Hopper at 6 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, followed by reed man Charles Perkins and bassist Tyrone Clark at 10:30 p.m.; OJT at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, followed by Clark’s trio at 10:30 p.m.; tenor saxophonist Stephen Martin’s trio at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26; reed man Todd Wilkinson’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, followed by guitarist Danny Embrey, organist Ken Lovern and drummer Todd Strait downstairs at 8:30 p.m. and Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 upstairs at 9 p.m.; and Lovern’s trio at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 28, followed by Guitar Elation at 8 p.m. upstairs, organist Mitch Towne’s trio at 8:30 p.m. downstairs and Martin’s quartet at 11:30 p.m.
Joe Klopus, 816-234-4751