SFJAZZ Playing (and Speaking) To The Moment

SFJAZZ Collective at SFJAZZ Center credit Bill Evans

The SFJAZZ Collective at work. From the left, Warren Wolf, vibraphone; Edward Simon, piano; Gretchen Parlato vocals; Matt Brewer, bass; Chris Potter, sax; Etienne Charles, trumpet; David Sánchez, sax;  Kendrick A.D. Scott, drums. (Not pictured vocalist Martin Luther McCoy) Photo by Bill Evans courtesy of SFJAZZ

The SFJAZZ Collective is the composer’s workshop and resident ensemble at SFJAZZ, the San Francisco-based, non-profit organization dedicated to jazz creation, presentation, and education. Founded by SFJAZZ in 2004, the Collective interprets original, newly commissioned pieces by each of its members and arrangements of the music of master artists such as Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Michael Jackson, Ornette Coleman, and Sly and the Family Stone. For its 2020-21 season, the Collective had planned to explore the music of Joni Mitchell.

“But given what was going on at the time,” trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles says, “it was decided that it would be a lot better for us to channel our musical energy and our voices to tell stories about the moment. After all, reflecting on the moment is what jazz does, anyway: We speak to the moment.”

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Going. Going. Gone.


The demolition of the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach started Saturday morning, just days after the city issued the permit. According to a story in The Miami Herald, the Miami Design Preservation League, a Miami Beach preservation group, challenged the demolition order and an appeal is pending.

The Deauville opened in 1957 and had been closed since 2017. It was once a destination for dignitaries and stars, but it will forever be remembered for hosting a rare, extended stay by The Beatles, including a live performance for their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show ,in February 1964.

More recently, the Deauville had been home to the Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club (2006-2008) and the after-hours program of Snarky Puppy’s GroundUp Music Festival. In 2017, an evening included a performance by the immortal Derek Smalls, aka Harry Shearer, the pipe-smoking, cucumber-wielding bassist of the not-quite-great, sort-of-lamented British band Spinal Tap. Accompanied by a band band that, as I astutetly noted in my chronicle then, looked and sounded suspiciously like members of Snarky Puppy, Mr. Smalls revisited some of the Tap’s greatest hits, including “Break Like The Wind,” “Hellhole,” and “Sex Farm,” playing on the same stage The Beatles once appeared.

Or so I was told at the time. Sure. Why not? We like a good story.

Besides, if you live long enough in Miami Beach, you learn that the sublime and the ridiculous happen and live side by side here — impermanently, of course.



The Deauville a few weeks back, already fenced but still relatively intact. The iconic sign over the entrance was not on the rubble Saturday and according to one of the workers, it was saved and stored.

Chucho Valdés, Paquito D´Rivera And The Indestructible Bonds


Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera, working on one more piece for the reunion recording, at Chucho’s home

After 42 years of distance and silences, old friends and bandmates Paquito D’Rivera and Chucho Valdés have reunited, recorded a new album, and are readying to perform together again.

“I’m so proud,” says alto saxophonist, clarinetist and composer D’Rivera in a conversation at Valdés’ house following the final rehearsal for the recording sessions in January. “My life couldn’t end without … ,” he begins, pausing a moment to gather himself. “Chucho,” he continues. “Chucho is part of my life. His father was a close friend of my father. [Our friendship] is something that comes from a long way back. The first song Chucho wrote that became famous was called ‘Indestructible.’ That’s our relationship: indestructible.”

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