San Jose Jazz Announces Debut EP "SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk"

Article Contributed by JP Cutler Media | Published on Thursday, October 18, 2018

To capture the sound of a city is to broadcast its pulse as a culturally vibrant mecca. Silicon Valley is a microcosm of global influences and a dynamic scene bustling with advances in technology, design, music, art, and architecture. At the heart of the evolving local arts scene, singular non-profit San Jose Jazz perseveres as a mainstay Bay Area institution presenting the most distinguished names in music while propelling San Jose's top shelf musicians to international recognition. Embarking on the 30th Anniversary of their signature Summer Fest, San Jose Jazz is steadfast in its commitment to moving the jazz art form forward with innovative initiatives engaging and entertaining the South Bay community and beyond. Today, San Jose Jazz is thrilled to announce the release of their SJZ Collective's debut EP, SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk, due out on Friday, December 14, 2018.

The brainchild of Silicon Valley drummer and DRUM! Magazine contributing editor Wally Schnalle, SJZ Collective is the outgrowth of the success of San Jose Jazz Summer Jazz Camp ( -- Schnalle has been an integral facility member of Summer Jazz Camp for two decades and its director since 2013. In Schnalle's efforts to hire faculty that were not only superb musicians but excellent teachers, he's discovered through outreach in the greater South Bay metro area that collectively they were a standout ensemble contributing a special musical statement to the local community. Through master classes in schools and gigging at venerable venues, San Jose Jazz was keen to support Schnalle's vision of bringing SJZ Collective's music to a wider audience.

SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk debuted as a project at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2018 featuring Silicon Valley's top tier jazz musicians celebrating the centennial of Thelonious Monk. Presenting original arrangements of many of Monk's famous songs, SJZ Collective rounds out 2018 after its ambitious follow-up gigs at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018, Café Pink House, Impulse Room, and Cafe Stritch by releasing an inspired set of four compositions recorded at Valley Christian High School's studio in August 2018. Designed to be an ever-evolving mix of players, the 2018-19 Collective is comprised of drummer Schnalle, trumpeter/flugelhorn player John L. Worley, Jr., organist Brian Ho, guitarist Hristo Vitchev, saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan, and bassist Saúl Sierra. Each an acclaimed bandleader in their own right, SJZ Collective is a powerhouse of a sextet representing the sound of the South Bay.

As global ambassadors of San Jose Jazz and of the Silicon Valley jazz community, SJZ Collective is currently on tour in Taiwan for select concerts in October 2018. Taichung International Jazz Festival (Oct. 16: Taichung) invited SJZ Collective to perform, and club dates include appearances at Sappho Jazz Club (Oct 17: Taipei) and Blue Note (Oct 18: Taipei). The tour was spawned by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo's invitation to Taiwanese delegates to attend the annual Mayor's Jazz Brunch at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2017. Upon the delegates meeting with Brendan Rawson (Executive Director, San Jose Jazz), SJZ Collective was selected to represent Silicon Valley in Taiwan as part of a cultural exchange between the two pioneering cities.

"As an arts organization, we are looking at ways to demonstrate the spirit of Silicon Valley to people around the world," says Brendan Rawson. "This tour is an exciting step at broadening our programming with a truly international reach. And it goes both ways: we look forward to collaborating with other countries to continue to bring artists from all corners of the globe to our Summer and Winter Fests."

"Other jazz collectives scout artists from around the country, but we wanted to really focus on the wonderful talents right here in the South Bay to make up the SJZ Collective," adds Wally Schnalle. "Our mission is to spotlight local artists, but to widen our scope of influence outside the Bay Area. There's an incredible jazz scene that's developed over the past several years in San Jose. It's time to let broader audiences know what's happening in Silicon Valley, beyond the latest technologies and such. With our debut EP, we are really proud to honor one of the great American composers, Thelonious Monk."

The upcoming EP, SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk spotlights original interpretations of Monk compositions by Oscar Pangilinan ("Ask Me Now"), Brian Ho ("Blue Monk"), Wally Schnalle ("Green Chimneys"), and Hristo Vitchev ("'Round Midnight"). SJZ Collective celebrates the international release of their debut EP at Cafe Stritch in downtown San Jose on December 14, 2018.

About San Jose Jazz

Founded in 1986, San Jose Jazz is a public benefit corporation celebrating jazz as a dynamic, evolving art form and is producer of the annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest and Winter Fest. With its singular music programming and innovative educational offerings, San Jose Jazz preserves the jazz tradition while actively supporting the next generation of performers within the genre and beyond. For more information, please visit