Wednesday, April 25, 2007


In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Monterey Jazz Festival has announced its 2007 lineup, featuring an array of Jazz greats to appear Sept. 21 weekend at the Monterey, Ca, Fairgrounds. Young stars, such as trumpeter Terence Blanchard, vocalist Diana Krall and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba will join jazz legends the likes of saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, pianist Dave Brubeck and band leader-composer Gerald Wilson to name just a few.

These greats and many other stars will appear in concerts in the large Arena/Lyons stage and five additional venues on the grounds, providing continuous music. Audiences, indeed, will have a hard time, as usual, choosing which concert to attend.

Friday will kick off the Festival with the multi-cultural and multi-dimensional talents of Cuban singer Issac Delgado; iconic bassist Dave Holland, appearing with Rubalcaba, Chris Potter and Eric Harland in a special all-star band; and the influential and mesmerizing guitarist John McLaughlin. On the Grounds sites (Dizzy's Den, Garden's Stage, Courtyard Stage, Bill Berry Stage, Coffee House Gallery)the vibe will be no less electric with the New Grooves show in Dizzy's Den being visited by three slices of funk bands from New Orleans, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, the Brass Funk Rock group Bonerama and the jazz-inflected Papa Grows Funk.

On the Grounds Friday night, in a meeting of creative minds, Jim Hall and Geoff Keezer will perform as an understated, yetintense, duo; the freewheeling guitarist Anthony Wilson and his Nonet will play and the cutting-edge pianist Craig Taborn and his Trio will forge new sounds. The Grounds will also feature the Terence Blanchard Quintet performing its visionary brand of jazz, the straight-ahead groove of Along Came Betty and the gifted students of the Berklee-Monterey Quartet.

Saturday will showcase a world of music from the blues to the symphonic, with a little of everything in between. The Arena/Lyons Stage will rock in the afternoon with the raw blues sounds of artists Otis Taylor and James Hunter, followed by the legendary Los Lobos, featuring their own blend of blues, rockabilly, and Latin jazz, mixed with the music of their Mexican-American heritage. Evening on the Arena/Lyons Stage will turn from the blues to the highly anticipated debut of two large scale pieces--Artist-In-Residence Blanchard's “Requiem for Katrina” with the MJF Chamber Orchestra, and 2007 Commission Artist Gerald Wilson's “Monterey Moods,” his third commission for the historic anniversaries of the Festival (25th, 40th, and 50th). The evening will end with the reigning queen of cool, singer/pianist Krall in her third appearance at Monterey, her first visit since 1999.

Saturday, the grounds will offer an international cornucopia of blues, straight-ahead jazz, elegant vocalists, the avant-garde, jazz legends, and rising stars. Appearing will be the quartets of legendary six-string guitarist Hall (MJF's 2007 Showcase Artist) and Kenny Burrell, plus the electrified bluesy Mimi Fox Trio; rising young trumpeters Sean Jones and Christian Scott; the rollicking pianism of the Cyrus Chestnut Trio and the Shigeru Morishita Quintet; the radiant power of vocalists Ernestine Anderson and Lynne Fiddmont; the trail-blazing drummer Rashied Ali and his Quintet; and the down-home traditional and electric-trance blues of James Hunter and Otis Taylor. Also featured will be the blues supergroup, The Honeydripper All-Stars, who are the subject of the John Sayles new film “Honeydripper,” which will be previewed in the Festival's Jazz Theater. Wilson and his Orchestra will also perform on the grounds on Saturday, as will bassist Dave Holland, with pianist Rubalcaba, Chris Potter and Eric Harland.

Sunday will cap off the 50th celebration weekend. Afternoon on the Arena/Lyons Stage, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Big Band (winner of the 37th Annual National High School Competition at the Next Generation Festival) and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will take the stage along with Blanchard. Alto sax genius Coleman, one of the primary architects of jazz, will close Sunday's show, performing with his Grammy-nominated group.

Sunday night will present the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars. Blanchard, vocalist Nnenna Freelon, pianist Benny Green, legendary saxophonist James Moody, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Derrick Hodge will perform; each has a strong connection with the Festival.

Blanchard is the 2007 Artist-In-Residence at Monterey. Moody has been performing at Monterey since 1963, and Green is a graduate of the Festival's world-renowned Jazz Education Programs, having performed as a high schooler with the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Star Big Band in the 1970s. Freelon, a regular performer at MJF, also has connections with MJF Jazz Education Programs, having performed at the Festival's annual High School Jazz Competition. Scott performed with the Berklee-Monterey Quartet at the Festival in 2000. This special group will tour across 60 cities in the United States, from January through March of 2008.

Sunday night will also witness the return of one of the patriarchs of the Festival, Brubeck. Fans will be treated to a meeting of the minds as the Brubeck's Quartet performs with a legendary architect and innovator of modern jazz guitar, Hall, who also performed at the first Monterey Jazz Festival. The night's finale features crowd-favorite Rollins with his group on the Arena/Lyons Stage, the sixth time he has performed at the festival.

Grounds artist lineup will offer a varied selection of internationally known masters and young emerging talent. Audiences can enjoy the piano mastery of the Kenny Barron Trio and Jacky Terrasson, the unprecedented talents of Richard Galliano playing bebop accordion, and the jagged new music of the Smith Dobson V Quintet. The MJF All-Stars will also play a set on the Grounds, with additional appearances by stalwart drummer Benny Barth and his Trio, featuring Buddy Montgomery. Also on Sunday will be the groove-oriented audience favorite, the “Hammond B-3 Blowout” featuring a double bill of the Joey DeFrancesco Trio and Atsuko Hashimoto Trio (with Houston Person and Jeff Hamilton).

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