SFJAZZ, a decade-long experiment turned into one of the hippest institutions in contemporary jazz, has graced Santa Barbara stages (the Campbell, the Lobero) several times, but has been conspicuously absent since 2010. The group returns in the same year of the much-buzzed-about opening of the new $64 millions SFJazz Center in downtown San Francisco, the most lavish new jazz-centric structure this side of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Columbia Circle HQ.
The group, currently including alto saxist Miguel Zenon (a MacArthur “Genius”), formidable tenor player David Sanchez, trombonist extraordinaire Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, and trumpeter Avishai Cohen, vibist Warren Wolf, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Obed Calvaire, most recently recorded a tribute to Chick Corea’s music. That project is in keeping with its tradition of creating new arrangements of legendary musicians — i.e. Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Stevie Wonder — along with tasty original concoctions for a pocket-sized big band.
UCSB Arts & Lectures is doing us the favor of bringing them back to Campbell Hall on Thursday, October 18, in what should be one of the hottest jazz nights out this season.