Players will appear both on the large Jimmy Lyons Arena stage, as well as six other smaller venues on the Fairgrounds.The Festival's Arena concerts will mark several significant milestones. Commemorating 40 years since the recording of "Forest Flower," the Charles Lloyd Quartet will perform on Lyons Stage Saturday night. The Yellowjackets, celebrating their 25th anniversary, will perform Friday on the Lyons Stage with special guest Robben Ford and others.
In addition, on Friday night Elling will appear with the Clayton-Hamilton orchestra and Richard Bona virtuoso bass player and his group will play.
The Saturday afternoon Arena concert is traditionally devoted to the blues, and this year’s lineup promises to be one of best in festival history. Making her debut at the MJF is blues superstar Bonnie Raitt, nine-time Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Further adding lustre to the Saturday’s blues lineup will be contemporary blues giant Keb Mo, along with McCollough Sons of Thunder, a brass choir bringing shout gospel from the heart of Harlem.
Saturday night's Arena show showcases jazz legends McCoy Tyner with his trio and special guests vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and trumpet player Roy Hargrove, followed by 2006 Grammy Award singer Dianne Reeves and the Charles Lloyd Quartet, performing on the same stage on which the classic "Forest Flower" was recorded 40 years ago.
Sunday Afternoon's Arena concert will feature the Monterey Jazz Festival's jazz education program with the second annual performance of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. NGJO features many of the country's top high school jazz players. The all-star band will be joined by MJF's 2006 Artist-in-Residence Kurt Elling, who will be performing throughout the weekend on several stages. Trumpet player Chris Botti will also be on hand.
The festival's Arena performances will wind down Sunday night in style with two of the jazz world's top pianists appearing on the Lyons Stage. Oscar Peterson will perform in his first MJF visit since 1990. Following will be the Dave Brubeck Quartet and special guests, premiering the MJF Commission "Cannery Row Suite," based on the novel by John Steinbeck.
In other venues on the Fairgrounds, Friday night's bill will highlight "New Grooves" at Dizzy's Den showcasing the soulful electronic-infused grooves of Roy Hargrove & RH Factor, as well as Uri Caine & Bedrock. Elsewhere on the Fairgrounds Friday, the lineup includes Richard Bona, as well as the piano styles of Robert Glasper, Eldar and Taylor Eigsti, all with their groups.
Also Friday Santa Cruz native, vocalist Sasha Dobson, will perform with with New York artists Richard Julian and Jesse Harris who is best known for his songwriting collaborations with Norah Jones. Percussionist Babatunde Lea completes the Friday night Grounds program with his spiritually infused African and Afro-Cuban take on modern jazz
Saturday's Grounds entertainment includes the Kurt Elling Quartet, Yellowjackets, Tierney Sutton, Hiromi, Peter Apfelbaum & the New York Hieroglyphics featuring Abdoulaye Diabate, as well as Lionel Loueke, the Robben Ford Group, the Duke Robillard Band with Hubert Sumlin, Jeff Hamilton Trio, McCollough Sons of Thunder, John Worley & Worlview, Trio Paradiso, the Fins, and Robert Lowery & Virgil Thrasher.
Performing on the Grounds on Sunday afternoon will be winners from the Festival's 36th annual MJF High School Jazz Competition - part of the Next Generation Festival - including the Next Generation Festival's winning Combo and Vocal Group. Likewise, some of the country's top high school and college jazz groups will perform, including the Berklee-Monterey Jazz Quartet and IAJE Clifford Brown-Stan Getz All-Stars.
Sunday’s Grounds lineup also offers sophisticated fare from the Roy Hargrove Quintet, Hank Jones Trio featuring Roberta Gambarini, Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Ben Monder Trio, Aaron Goldberg Trio, Christine Tobin and Sadza.
All five of the Arena/Lyons Stage concerts will be simulcast on a 9 foot by 12 foot theater screen in the Jazz Theater.
Monterey Jazz Festival will focus on the festival side as well, with clinics, conversations, panel discussions, exhibitions, shopping, food, fun and festivities happening throughout the Festival weekend. For example, Kurt Elling will discuss "Jazz & The Creative Muse " in a "Jazz Conversation." On Sunday, noted jazz journalist Dan Omelette will quiz the Yellowjackets for Down Beat Magazine's "Blindfold Test.
The Monterey Jazz Festival encourages jazz fans to purchase tickets early as Arena Packages traditionally sell out. Contact the festival Ticket Office for tickets, (925) 275-9255 or purchase online, www.montereyjazzfestival.org. For more information, call (831) 373-3366.