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Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Features an Array of Stars

Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Cassandra Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling all these jazz greats and more will appear at the 51st annual Monterey Jazz Festival. The three-day weekend will be held at the Monterey Fairgrounds.

Besides the large outdoor Jimmy Lyons Arena Stage, musical events will be held in four other venues on the grounds Dizzy’s Den, the Bill Berry Stage, the outdoor Garden Stage and the intimate Coffee House Gallery. In addition, the majority of artists appearing on the Arena Stage will also play in one of the other sites. All Area Stage events will be simultaneously telecast in the Jazz Theater.

Two special tributes will be featured during the weekend, both on the Arena Stage and on the grounds. On Saturday night, "A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley" will consist of a modern take on the music of the celebrated saxophonist, starring renowned vocalist Nancy Wilson, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Tom Scott. Sunday will spotlight John Coltrane’s beloved collaborations with vocalist Johnny Hartmanin in vocalist Kurt Elling’s "Dedicated to You."

Starting things off in a Latin vein Friday on Arena Stage will be the MJF debut of Cuban vocalist and flautist Orlando "Maraca" Valle. This to be followed by the angular modernism of the Joshua Redman Trio and the luxurious vocals of Cassandra Wilson.

In Dizzy’s Den, the Christian McBride Band and Rudder will be on hand. The Garden Stage will begin in a bebop manner with the George Young Quartet, succeeded by the talented and youthful Berklee Latin Jazz All-Stars. Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts will offer their own take on the jazz tradition to close out at the Garden Stage. On the Bill Berry Stage, the singer-songwriter Spencer Day will perform original and American songbook favorites, followed by the up-and-coming Israeli saxophonist Anat Cohen. The Joshua Redman Trio will close out Friday’s Night Club program in its second performance of the evening.In the intimate Coffee House Gallery, Yaron Herman will make his MJF debut with three sets of his impassioned improvisation.

Saturday afternoon is time for the blues at Monterey. Festivities start with the 2008 Grammy-nominee for "Best New Artist," Ledisi, followed by the legendary funk-soul saxophonist Maceo Parker, appearing with the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. The funky Derek Trucks Band concludes things.

On the Arena Stage Saturday night, Christian McBride’s new acoustic Quintet will be followed by MJF/51 Commission Artist Maria Schneider and her orchestra, performing a festival-commissioned piece. The evening ends with veteran vocal stylist Nancy Wilson, along with trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Tom Scott in their Adderley tribute.

At the Bill Berry Stage Saturday, a myriad of styles and artists will play including experimental Japanese pianist Junko Moriya, making her MJF debut, the Terrence Blanchard Quintet and a duo, Matt Wilson-Bill Frisell.

At Dizzy’s Den Saturday night, Cuban jazz starts the proceedings with Orlando "Maraca" Valle with his Cuban Lullabies and, next, Cuban drummer Antonio Sanchez and Migration take the stage. The Maria Schneider Orchestra will close the night.

All day and through the evening the intimate Coffee House Gallery will feature a range of musical styles, ranging from La Tuque Bleue performing its Euro-Canadian folk music, to the Berklee Latin Jazz All-Stars and the jagged experimentalism of the Marc Cary Trio. In the Arena, Sunday's program starts off with the winning high school band from Monterey's Next Generation Festival, followed by MJF’s youthful Next Generation Jazz Orchestra with guest Christian McBride.

Closing the afternoon, will be eclectic British crosssover singer Jamie Cullum. Final night on the Arena Stage Sunday will be vocalist Kurt Elling, assisted by Ernie Watts on tenor sax and the Laurence Hobgood Trio, participating in the Coltrane/Hartman dedication. Next, the legendary Wayne Shorter(pictured) and his quartet followed by multiple Grammy winner, Herbie Hancock with his group.

Sunday on the Garden Stage, La Tuque Bleue will again provide an acoustic foray into folk, followed by the drummer-led Brian Blade Fellowship. The Kyle Eastwood Band then returns with its electro-acoustic modernist-type jazz and then classic vocal stylings of the Jamie Davis Group.

Closing night, Dizzy’s Den schedules Christian McBride’s new Quintet and a reprise of Kurt Elling’s Hartman/Coltrane set. On the Bill Berry Stage Sunday’s feature will be MJF’s classic Hammond B-3 Blowout with Barbara Dennerlein and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.

At The Gallery Coffee House, the cutting-edge Trio M (with Matt Wilson, Myra Melford and Mark Dresser) is scheduled for what should be a primer on improvisation. All through the three days, there will also be jazz in the informal Lyons Lounge and on the grounds itself. All manner of food and jazz-related merchandise can be found throughout the event.

Tickets are on sale now by phone at (925) 275-9255 and on the Monterey Jazz Festival’s website, Full Weekend Arena Packages from $220; Daily Grounds Tickets from $35.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Array of Jazz Greats to Appear
  • Subtitle: Set for Sept 19-21
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