Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monterery Jazz Festival - the afterglow

It's a week after the festival and I'm still going through withdrawal. So many artist, so many great performances, and so many Monterey Moments get packed into a weekend that just flies by. I wish I could say I caught all the performances. I can say that I covered as much ground as I could, and saw as many artists as possible. There wasn't anything that disappointed me, but then, this is Monterey. There is rarely a disappointing performance.

As I sift through some 1200 images captured over the course of the weekend, I'll be updating my online image gallery. There's an overview gallery this year's festival up now that will grow, and be supplemented with galleries of individual performers.

For the notes and reviews, watch for detailed reviews from my notes on individual performance over the next few week. This is going to take a while to go through, but it's worth giving each artist their due. Plus, there's a selfish aspect to this approach. If 'm trying to push out frequent reviews of the performances, that will force me to get work through all the photos faster. You get a constanct flow of information, and I get my images edited; everybody wins. Okay, I get the big win.
Anyway, the blog will get much more frequent updates, and along the way I'll mix in some CD and DVD reviews, and hopefully some recaps from the San francisco Jazz Festival. We'll see how this goes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

51st Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon

The festival has been incredible so far. Joshua Redman opened the festival on the main stage, followed by Cassandra Wilson. Maraca closed the evening with a special project of traditional Cuban music entitled "Cuban Lullabies". Maraca was on flute for most of the set, and was accompanied by Horacio El Negro Hernandez on drums, Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion, and Miguel Zenon on sax. I also managed to catch a great up-and-coming vocalist, Spencer Day, and young lioness Anat Cohen, both were new to most of the festival audience.

The afternoon highlights included Ledisi, Maceo Parker, Derrick Trucks, and others. What had to be the high point of the day, and likely will be for the festival, was the an open interview session with Nancy Wilson. The festival features at least one of these "conversations" each year, to give audiences a deeper view of an artist's personality. These are wonderful opportunities to see the personae of the artist when they are not in the midst of their act, and they frequently share priceless stories from their storied careers. Wilson has had a 55 year long career, and has a lot to tell; far more than could be condensed into a 75 minute discussion.

Well, break time is over. It's back to the fairgrounds for this evening's shows.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monterey Jazz Festival time

For those of you that heeded my advice in my last post, and jumped on the chance to get Arena tickets, congratulations. For those that waited too long (they sold out just 2 days after my post went up), and got Grounds tickets, congratulations to you as well. You'll at least be there, and one can always find somebody that wants to sell a ticket to the arena shows.

Either way, the festival starts next weekend. I'll be there covering it for this blog (of course), my gallery, and for Those that watch this site, will get it first, as I attempt to provide daily updates. Photos will start to arrive at my gallery within a week after the festival. Who will I be covering, you ask? The partial list is: Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ledisi, Maceo Parker, Cassandra Wilson, Joshua Redman, Nancy Wilson, and lots more. Now, shouldn't you be going to to see if you can still get tickets?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monterey Jazz Festival tickets

Jazz fans, you have a rare opportunity, but you need to act quickly. The 51st Monterey Jazz Festival, sponsored by Verizon, tickets are on sale now. The festival takes place September 19-21st this year, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Grounds tickets to view any of the artists appearing at the 7 festival grounds venues are available for all three days, but that’s not unusual for mid-July. The opportunity is tickets for the arena shows are still available. That is very unusual; six weeks after the tickets went on sale to the public.

Festival subscriber (anyone who purchased arena tickets last year) ticket sales open each year around March 30th. They have until May 31st to renew or upgrade their arena packages. Missing the deadline by just a day means losing your seats, and having to start over again in the back of the arena, in the bleacher seats. Normally, the small pool of available arena seats is gone by late June.

Prime arena package seats are extraordinarily valuable. They are hotly contested settlement items in divorce cases, and frequently show up in wills and trusts. No, I’m not joking. Each year, you have the opportunity to upgrade your seats, but only if someone else has vacated theirs. We’ve been very lucky, and have progressed to a great set of seats, along the side of the arena, with a great view of the stage.

With a grounds package, you have access to all the festival grounds venues. The shows are continuous in the grounds venues from 6:00pm – 11:30pm Friday, Noon to 11:30pm Saturday, and Noon to 11:00pm on Sunday. There is no in-and-out access to the festival grounds. If you leave, you cannot come back in without another ticket. However, once on the grounds, there is more than enough activities, food, beverages, and shopping, to keep you going all day long.

The arena packages also allow access to all the grounds venues. The added plus is access to the arena programs. The shows on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the arena feature the headliners of the festival. Many of these artists also play sets in the grounds venues. The package consists of tickets for 5 shows: Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon, and Sunday evening. The biggest hidden advantage is, since you have separate tickets for each show, you can actually leave the grounds during the break between the afternoon, and evening shows.

The lineup for this year is outstanding. Last year’s 50th lineup was a celebration of 50 years of phenomenal performances. Several artists who performed at the very first MJF were on hand for the event. This year’s lineup is intent on launching the next 50 years in fine fashion. Bassist Christian McBride, this year’s artist-in-residence, is featured in a number of different ensembles. Headliners include Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Nancy Wilson, Cassandra Wilson, and many more. Act quickly to be a part of the next 50 years of one-of-a-kind performances. For details go to: