Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SFJAZZ Collective Previews Michael Jackson Arrangements

SFJAZZ Collective's Sean Jones, Matt Penman and Robin Eubanks kicked off the Collective's SFJAZZ Center Residency on Wednesday (10/21) with a special Members Listening Party. To give you a teaser, we asked each of them about the Michael Jackson song they chose to arrange.

Sean Jones on "Rock With You"

My song choice, "Rock With You" (Off The Wall), is based on a few things: I absolutely love the tune and the feeling it gives me. Also I, at times, write with a sense of humor. The bridge of the tune starts with the lyric, "and when the groove is dead and gone"... So, I decided to make the groove "dead and gone" during the solo section by making the top of the phrase land in the middle of the solo form. The top of the arrangement also works this way with a piece of the chorus thrown in.

Matt Penman on "Blame It On The Boogie"

I chose the Jacksons' "Blame it on the Boogie" (Destiny) because it's a perfect mantra for abdicating all personal responsibility. Just kidding! I love it because it's infectiously fun and funky, has nice chords and mentions 'Frisco in the lyrics!

Robin Eubanks on "The Love You Save"

I went back to the beginning of Michael Jackson's career, with the Jackson 5. I arranged one of their first hits, "The Love You Save" (ABC). It's a light hearted song but it has a nice groove section that resonated with me and I thought I could develop it into a arrangement for the Collective. Here is a section of Michaels vocals demonstrating how talented he was at such a young age. 

List of Collective Arrangements:

"Rock With You" (Sean Jones)
"Blame It On The Boogie" (Matt Penman)
"Thriller" (Obed Calvaire)
"The Love You Save" (Robin Eubanks)
"Don't Stop Til' You Get Enough" (David Sanchez)
"Smooth Criminal" (Miguel Zenon)
"Human Nature" (Warren Wolf)
"This Place Hotel" (Edward Simon)

(Each SFJAZZ Collective member was also commissioned to compose an original for the all-star octet.)

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