The New York-based David Sanford Big Band (formerly the Pittsburgh Collective) was formed in 2003 and comprises twenty musicians specializing in jazz, avant-garde, classical, funk and Latin genres.
Members and soloists have included Hugh Ragin, Jon Irabagon, Anna Webber, Josh Roseman, Mike Christianson, Steven Bernstein, Bruce Johnstone, Chris Washburne, Adam Kolker, Ted Levine, Tony Kadleck, Hiro Noguchi, Dave Ballou, and players from the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, the Knights, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, the Denver Neophonic Jazz Orchestra, and most of the prominent big bands in New York City.
Along with presenting original works written expressly for the ensemble, the group performs big band literature that draws heavily on classical idioms (Stravinsky), classical works (Tomkins, Mahler) and popular music (Nick Cave, Sia), as well as jazz standards (Gillespie, Mingus, Elvin Jones).
“To call the [David Sanford’s] Pittsburgh Collective a big band is a bit like calling the New York Philharmonic an opera outfit…A new kind of fusion is going on in [their] music, but also, perhaps, a new kind of analysis, in which the origins of jazz – the fusion music of a century ago – are being creatively explored.”
– Paul Griffiths, Miller Theater program notes, October 2007
“When I listen to this album I get the feeling that it’s a soundtrack to a cool movie I wish I were starring in (but in which Denzel got the part because he looks cooler in a fedora). Each song has its own mood, its own approach. Some songs are energetic, like ‘popit’, some are homages to big bands, like ‘Dizzy Atmosphere’, and others have an avant garde edge, like ‘V-Reel’. You don’t just listen to this album, you inhabit it.”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (“Kareem’s Weekend Boost”)