the sixth keyboardist to be honored by the Collectivein new arrangements of the pianist's works, as well as original compositions, one each from the Collective's eight members. Previous tours have saluted saxophonists Ornette Coleman
Opening with "Matrix," from Corea's early acoustic period, the ensemble delineated the chart's powerful tension-and-release via alternating horn fragmentations. "500 Miles High," from Return to Forever
propelled with powerful intricacies. Simon's original, "Incessant Desire," was sparked by one of the best solos of the evening from Sánchez, his explosive riffs contrasting against the electronic overtones created by trombonist Robin Eubanks
wrote the pop-style "Vegan Las Vegas," providing a foil for Zenón to rocket through elaborate runs, in contrast with Simon's minimalism and the tune's soulful four-horn harmonies. Sánchez's arrangement of Corea's "Crystal Silence" reflected the ethereal simpatico of the pianist's original 1972 ECM duo album of the same name with vibraphonist Gary Burton
, via Harris and Simon's interplay. The multifaceted Eubanks wrote bright horn opportunities that boosted the tempo of "Shifting Centers" into a hard-driving set closer.
The musicians moved into the wings, but vigorous applause quickly brought them back for Harris' "Let's Take a Trip to the Sky," dedicated to his wife and opening with dreamy piano moves accented by climbing harmony horn lines and supported by the vibes' rich depth and dimension.
The group's well-chosen name accurately conveys the concept that all members contribute to the aggregation, which legitimately could have been called the SFJAZZ All-Stars, so formidable is each of these musicians in playing prowess and writing ability. But it is the dynamic synergy of the ensemble that results in its exhilarating sound. With members from Puerto Rico, Israel, Venezuela, New Zealand, New York and Philadelphia, the band is living proof that jazz remains an international language.