Every year, besides their always incredible original compositions, the SFJAZZ Collective treats us all to some seriously fresh takes on the works of a master modern musician. It’s impossible to forget their reimagining of Stevie Wonder from 2 years back, and October of 2014 found them paying tribute to Joe Henderson. Last year they decided to take on the already beautifully arranged works of the great Michael Jackson, which they premiered at their yearly residency. Luckily for us, these performances were captured for their latest double-disc release dropping this Friday, March 4th. Among the many M.J. classics the Collective reimagined, one of the more interesting choices is pianist Edward Simon’s electronic-influenced take on the very funky “This Place Hotel.”

SF Jazz Collective

SFJAZZ Collective photographed in San Francisco, CA October 23, 2015©Jay Blakesberg

Commenting on his contribution, Simon said “After a long search, I decided to arrange this lesser known piece by Michael Jackson. I liked its episodic quality, relatively complex structure and unusual harmonic movement that happens during the interlude. As with most of his music, ‘This Place Hotel’ has a funky groove and a catchy melody. I felt it was important for those elements to stay intact when rendering my arrangement.” It’s safe to say he was more than successful. The track captures the spirit of the original while adding modern electronic timbres and a funky bass ostinato. Plus, what he did with that interlude is really dope. Featured soloists trombonist Robin Eubanks and Simon himself really stretch out on the very inventive arrangement.

SFJAZZ Collective is releasing their live double-disc CD a little less than a month ahead of their spring tour, which begins at the end of March. In the meantime, scroll down to check out “This Place Hotel,” and pre-order your copy of SFJAZZ Collective’s latest here.

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