Thursday, September 15, 2011

September in Monterey - Festival Time

For many Jazz fans from around the world, the third weekend in September is the most anticipated time of the year. That weekend belongs to the Monterey Jazz Festival. This weekend marks the 54th annual of this Monterey Peninsula tradition.

The Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world. Cofounded in 1958 by Jimmy Lyons and Ralph J. Gleason, the Festival has presented nearly every major artist in the world - from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, to contemporary masters Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard.

As a nonprofit, the Festival is devoted to education by presenting year-round local, regional, national, and international programs. Schools in Monterey County and thousands of students have been the benefactors of MJF’s educational efforts through the Traveling Clinicians Program, Summer Jazz Camp and Monterey County All-Star Bands, which embark on an annual performance trips each summer.

The Festival now spends over $750,000 annually on its programs, including the Next Generation Jazz Festival, with the best student bands from across the nation each spring. From that festival, the country’s best young musicians are selected to be members of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Those honored musicians participate in a summer tour each year, and the Artist-In-Residence program, which brings a renowned artist to work with the young musicians in performances and clinics at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Summer
Jazz Camp, and at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

An astounding array of artists are assembled each year by festival Artistic Director Tim Jackson to fill the fairgrounds with three days of incredible music. Headliners this year include Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Artist-in-Residence Joshua Redman, festival featured artist Robert Glasper, and hundreds more. For a look at the complete lineup, go to

Jackson and the festival staff have done all the hard work of putting it together in one fabulous package. All you have to do is get there.

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