By Taylor Jordan
Legends, tributes to legends, young lions, blues women and future talent musical cubs promise to excite and exhilirate fans at the 45th annual Monterey Jazz Festival Sept. 20, 21 and 22.
Music will flow freely from seven stages around the Monterey County Fairgrounds at the world's oldest continuous jazz festival. There are sub-themes and different focuses for the five main arena concerts on the Jimmy Lyons Stage and six grounds-only stages, but everything and everyone will be driven by the festival's and fans' continuing commitment to all that's jazz.
Arena ticket packages, starting at $150 are still available for the five Jimmy Lyons Stage concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. General admission grounds-only tickets can also be purchased for the six stages on the fairgrounds which are outside the main arena. Grounds tickets are $25 for Friday and $35 each for all day and night Saturday and Sunday or $80 for the grounds package. Grounds tickets increase $5 each for those bought at the gate on festival performance days.
Arena artists, per show, include:
Friday evening - Joshua Redman with Brian Blade and Sam Yahel, Don Byron's premiere of the 2002 Monterey Jazz Festival commissioned composition "Music for Six Musicians," and Roy Hargrove with his latest ensemble RH Factor.
Saturday Afternoon - Etta James and the Roots Band, Marcia Ball and Big Time Sarah with the Steve Freund Blues Band.
Saturday Night - The Heath Brothers (bassist Percy, saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath), Charlie Haden Special Project, and the Charles Mingus Big Band in a tribute to the legendary bassist and performer at the first Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958.
Sunday Afternoon - Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis and the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Star Big Band with special guests and MJF artists-in-residence Percy, Jimmy and Tootie Heath.
Sunday Night - MJF inaugural performer Dave Brubeck with special guests Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride and Lizz Wright in the special "Monterey Legends Celebrate Our 45th Anniversary" set hosted by actor, director and MJF board member Clint Eastwood, and Randy Weston Sextet featuring Billy Harper.
Arena artists who will perform on at least one of the six grounds stages include Brubeck, the Heath Brothers, Hargrove, Wright, Byron, Ball, Weston, Harper, Big Sarah, and the Mingus Big Band.
The ever-popular Hammond B3 organ blowout returns on Sunday and teams organist Rhoda Scott and saxophonist Houston Person as well as Masters of the Groove with Reuben Wilson.
The grounds entertainment will additionally feature Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Lady Bianca, Anthony Wonsey Trio, Roberta Gambarini, Mingus Amungus, Rene Marie, Moire Music Quartet, Ventos do Brasil, Berklee-Monterey Quartet 2002, Commanders Jazz Ensemble, Michael Wolff and Impure Thoughts, Paula West, Sylvia Cuenca Group, ESP featuring India Cooke and San Francisco Bay area percussionists John Santos, Orestes Vilato and Michael Spiro.
Future talent performers will include the Brubeck Institute Jazz Ensemble directed by young lion Christian McBride, the Berklee College of Music-Monterey Quartet 2002, International Association of Jazz Educators' Clifford Brown-Stan Getz Fellows, San Jose State University Afro-Latin Ensemble and, as winners of Monterey Jazz Festival's 32nd annual high school jazz competition, the Hamilton High School Big Band from Los Angeles, Booker T. Washington Combo from Dallas and Folsom High School Vocal Group from Folsom as well as the top teen instrumentalists selected for the MJF High School All-Star Big Band.
Outstanding soloists in the high school competition divisions are also expected to perform over the weekend with various student and professional ensembles.
The weekend menu also continues the tradition of panel discussions, including conversations with Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus' widow Sue and members of the late bassist's band, the Heath Brothers detailing aspects of their lives as part of a legendary jazz family, and the Downbeat blindfold music test.
This year's MJF art exhibit will be entitled "A Matter of Time: The Brubeck Collection" and feature memorabilia from the personal archives of the "Take Five" pianist.
Approximately 500 artists will take part in the festival expected to bring out nearly 45,000 fans from around the world.
Ticket orders and reservations: (925) 275-9255 or www.montereyjazzfestival.org.
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