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Monterey Jazz Festival Announces September Lineup

With an appetizing array of over 500 artists appearing on 7 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of nonstop jazz, the 48th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Presented by MCI offers fans a taste to please every palette.

From reunions reflecting its storied past to today's "New Grooves", from MJF debuts of vocal masters like Tony Bennett to Madeleine Peyroux, from the world premiere of commissioned music to the Festival premiere of its Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the world's longest running jazz festival serves up a generous helping of world class jazz, Sept.16 - 18, at the magnificent forested Festival site in Monterey, California.

The Festival's opening night Arena concert on the Jimmy Lyons Stage will witness the return of Sonny Rollins to the Monterey Jazz Festival, his first appearance since 1997, playing the same stage where he helped launch the MJF in 1958. In another nod to the Festival's past, saxophonist John Handy will revisit his classic 1965 performance, recorded live at the MJF, with a "40th Anniversary Reunion" featuring many members of the same '65 quintet.

Saturday afternoon's Arena concert, traditionally devoted to the blues, will be true to form this year with Larry Carlton & Sapphire Blue, appearing with special guest Ledisi. Mavis Staples, in her first MJF appearance since 1995, will offer fans a touch of her Grammy nominated gospel singing. And, in their MJF debut, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings will have fans on their feet, learning to do the "Dap Dip".

Saturday night's Arena show has "debut" written all over the Lyons Stage performances. Highlights will include the much anticipated and long awaited Monterey Jazz Festival debut of legendary vocalist Tony Bennett.

Keeping in the legendary vein, John Scofield Band will perform their new "Tribute to Ray Charles", with special guest Staples, in another MJF debut. As the Festival's Showcase Artist, Scofield will be appearing throughout the weekend with a number of groups in various venues. Saturday night's Arena concert will also witness another debut, the world premiere of Carla Bley Big Band's MJF commissioned piece, "The Black Orchid". The title reflects Bley's early years in Monterey, playing at the Black Orchid Club.

Sunday Afternoon's Arena concert will once again showcase the Monterey Jazz Festival's jazz education efforts with the debut performance of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, featuring some of the country's top high school jazz players. The all-star band will be joined in their performance by MJF's 2005 Artist-in-Residence Branford Marsalis, who will also be performing throughout the weekend. Lee Ritenour & Friends with special guest Dave Grusin will be a Sunday afternoon highlight, as will the winning big band from the Next Generation Festival.

The Monterey Jazz Festival's 2005 Arena performances will wind down in star-studded style with some of the jazz world's top names gracing the Lyons Stage. Pat Metheny Trio with Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez will perform in Sunday night's Arena show, and Artist-in-Residence Branford Marsalis will be playing on Sunday night with his quartet, lauded as one of the finest ensembles in jazz.

Many Arena artists will be performing on Grounds stages as well, including Branford Marsalis, John Scofield, Mavis Staples, John Handy, Carla Bley, Larry Carlton & Sapphire Blue, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Christian McBride, and Ledisi.

Friday night's Grounds entertainment will once again highlight "New Grooves" on the Festival's Dizzy's Den stage, featuring John Scofield Uberjam Band, and Banyan with Stephen Perkins, Nels Cline, Willie Waldman, Mike Watt & Norton Wisdom, with special guests Herman Green & Calvin Newborn.

Also appearing on Friday's Grounds venues will be Jay Collins Band, Benny Green-Russell Malone Duo, John Handy Quintet, Sheila Jordan-Steve Kuhn Duo, Jacqui Naylor Quartet, Berklee-Monterey Quartet, and The Lost Chords with Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Andy Sheppard & Billy Drummond.

Saturday afternoon's Garden Stage concert will feature an eclectic "Touch of Gospel, Soul and New Orleans". Mavis Staples will offer up the touch of gospel. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings will supply the soul. And Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Orleans Jazz Vipers will add a touch of the Big Easy to the mix.

Saturday's Grounds entertainment will also include Andy Bey Quartet, Joey Calderazzo Trio, Miguel Zenón, Larry Carlton & Sapphire Blue, Claudia Acuña, Ledisi, Donny McCaslin Group, O-maya, Matthew Bourne, Australian All-Star Big Band, Army Blues-Jazz Ensemble, Jazzschool All-Stars, Berklee-Monterey Quartet 2005 and Lounge Art Ensemble with Peter Erskine, Bob Sheppard & Dave Carpenter.

On Sunday, fans will have a variety of vocalists to enjoy, including Madeleine Peyroux, Clairdee, Natasha Miller, and Valerie Joi Fiddmont & TruJoi. Also appearing on the Sunday Grounds stages will be John Scofield Trio with Steve Swallow & Bill Stewart, Christian McBride Band, Denny Zeitlin Trio with Buster Williams & Matt Wilson, Jang Seven featuring the music of Jon Jang, Doug Wamble Quartet, and the 2005 Clifford Brown-Stan Getz Fellows from the International Association for Jazz Education. The education theme will continue throughout Sunday, with winners of the Next Generation Festival performing, including the Next Generation Festival's winning Combo and Vocal Group, along with appearances by some of the country's top high school and college jazz groups.

In addition to simulcasting all Arena concerts on a 9' x 12' theater screen, the Festival's Jazz Theater--open to all Festival Grounds Ticket holders--will present "Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue" and the debut of a new documentary on longtime Festival favorites, The Heath Brothers. And Sue Downs will be performing on the Yamaha Disklavier on the Courtyard Stage on Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to performances by some of the top names in the world of jazz, the Monterey Jazz Festival will focus on the festival side as well, continuing a tradition which dates back to the first Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958. Clinics, conversations, panel discussions, exhibitions, shopping, food, fun and festivities will abound throughout the Festival weekend.

Branford Marsalis will participate in a Conversation on "Jazz: The Big Picture" on Saturday. Carla Bley and Steve Swallow will explore "The Creative Process" in another jazz Conversation slated for Sunday. Also scheduled for Sunday will be DownBeat Magazine's "Blindfold Test", hosted by noted jazz journalist, Dan Ouellette. Members of the Jazz Journalists Association will also be participating in a Panel Discussion on Saturday.

Throughout the Festival weekend, fans can explore photographs from the early Festival years taken by the MJF'S first Official Photographer, the late Peter Breinig. The exhibition will be in Starbucks Coffee House Gallery.

As always, there will be an international array of shopping, food, and festivities throughout the Festival weekend, spread across the 20 acre, oak-studded Monterey Fairgrounds, offering perfect spots for picnics.For tickets, contact the Festival Ticket Office, (925) 275-9255 or purchase online from the Festival's web site, For additional information, call Monterey Jazz Festival at (831) 373-3366.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Monterey Jazz Festival
  • Event Date: Sept/ 16-18
  • Subtitle: Sonny Rollins and Tony Bennet Lead Array of Stars
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