Envisage Collective is a cooperative ensemble that was founded in 2012 by Kris Allen (alto saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Noah Baerman (piano and organ). Along with co-founders Johnathan Blake (drums) and Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxophones), these established composer/performer/bandleaders were brought together by a shared vision of socially conscious jazz music that would speak prophetically, aid practically, and inspire thoughtfully. With each successive year the Collective (Initially known as the Jazz Samaritan Alliance) crafted all-new programs of works drawing thematic focus from and raising awareness about the important issues of hunger and food justice, domestic violence, and healthcare access, while raising funds for local charities working on the front lines of these efforts.
Musicians who joined the protean ranks of the group over its first five years include saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, bassists Linda May Han Oh and Henry Lugo, and drummers Rudy Royston, Otis Brown, III, and Anwar Marshall. November of 2019 marks an important milestone for the Envisage Collective, with the release of their first full-length album for RMI records, Reach Out.
This record features the current iteration of the band with Baerman, Allen and Dingman joined by Ike Sturm on bass, Nadje Noordhuis on trumpet, and Allan Mednard on drums, and provides both a snapshot into the potent chemistry of this evolving ensemble, and a retrospective of highlights from its members’ eclectic compositional output.
To Envisage is to conceive, contemplate, to foresee, predict and anticipate, and in the case of the collection of musicians and works gathered here, to work towards, to attempt, to call forth.
What are we envisaging and to what end do we create together? Societies and communities reverberating with justice and kindness, inclusion and respect for all, care for the hurting, sick and marginalized and for the natural world. Art that echoes, illuminates and stimulates the best thoughts and actions of humanity and serves the causes of peace and restoration.