From 1992 to 2005, the Collective was a strong organizational force on the NYC music scene dedicated to advancing the development and presentation of new music, while building new audiences for creative jazz. With a DIY ethos and an emphasis on artistic integrity, the Collective represented the ideals of a generation of composers and musicians working together to present jazz as ever-evolving music. The Collective’s annual concert series, which was a mainstay of NYC’s creative music scene for 12 seasons, featured the work of 50 composers, the participation of over 250 musicians and the premiere of over 300 new works.The Collective commissioned extended works by a cohort of forward-thinking musicians, including Ben Allison, Michael Blake, Ron Horton, Frank Kimbrough, and Ted Nash.
“Today it’s commonplace for young jazz musicians to play mostly original compositions, but when I hit the scene in the late 1980s that was not the norm,” said bassist, composer and Collective founder Ben Allison. “What turned me on to jazz was its renegade spirit and fearless experimentalism. I discovered there were other musicians who felt the same way I did about the importance of working on new music that pushed boundaries. We started the Collective as a way to provide musicians with opportunities to create and perform original music in a supportive environment, where we could take chances and find our voices.”