Four-time Grammy-Winning Vocalist Dianne Reeves Named As MJF/53 Artist-In-Residence
“Once again, the festival organizers have brought together fantastic music and a warm community atmosphere for an experience that will be remembered for years to come… there’s no place like Monterey.” --Jazzobserver.com
“If anyone thought that having Pete Seeger at a jazz festival was a bit odd…they surely changed their tune after the 90-year-old folk icon’s immensely entertaining and emotional show in the main arena. I haven’t seen that kind of response from an audience in many years. In fact, I can’t recall an audience getting up en masse and clapping AND singing along to any other performer.” --Monterey County Herald
“…what Monterey proves each year is that the ‘jazz era’ is ongoing. [Wynton] Marsalis is one of the really ecstatic and charismatic improvisers of recent decades... to hear him and [the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra]…it felt great… you could hear a pin drop in the arena…” --San Jose Mercury News
“…the music is alive and thriving…This uplifting message was solidly delivered in Monterey this year…jazz’s death has been greatly exaggerated.” --Santa Barbara Independent
“The weather changed on the hour and the music was just as eclectic… [Dee Dee Bridgewater’s set] is one of those Monterey shows that will go down in the history books.” --Jazz.com
“…the most exciting opening night of a festival I can remember…” --International Review of Music
• Pete Seeger delivers an emotional and iconic set in the Arena
• Esperanza Spalding makes outstanding MJF debut
• Dee Dee Bridgewater plays two emotional and provocative shows
• John Scofield steps in to replace Hank Jones in Joe Lovano’s Quartet
• Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis perform two masterful sets
• Susan Tedeschi grooves in the Arena
• Ruthie Foster wows Garden Stage
• Jason Moran’s MJF Commission, Feedback, creates controversy among fans
• Dave Brubeck’s 15th appearance included honorary doctorate
• Corea, Clark and White deliver a stunning set
September 29, 2009; Monterey, CA; The Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon wrapped up its 52nd edition on Sunday, September 20th with a weekend of visionary performances, sonic surprises, and emotionally charged sets from 500 world-renowned and legendary artists. With the weather behaving in typical Monterey fashion, from a cool mist to hot sun, the music also represented a variety of jazz temperatures. At the end of it all, over 40,000 fans gathered to celebrate the joy of jazz in Monterey.
Kicking off the weekend was the highly anticipated debut of bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, who wowed the crowds in the Arena and Dizzy’s Den presented by CareFusion. The MJF/52 All Stars, with Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, Kurt Elling and Regina Carter, performed a magnificent set in the Arena, with Conrad Herwig’s Latin Side All-Star Band closing out Friday night with a masterful show.
On the other end of the Grounds, New Grooves slow-burned with Lizz Wright, who kept the crowd transfixed in Dizzy’s Den presented by CareFusion. Esperanza Spalding, already becoming the buzz artist of the Festival a mere two hours after her Arena show, took Dizzy’s by storm for her second set of the evening. Other standout artists -- Global Noize on the Garden Stage and the triple bill of the Scott Amendola Trio, the John Patitucci Trio (with Joe Lovano and Brian Blade) and Forro in the Dark in the Night Club -- proved that all various forms of jazz can be equally potent. The Berklee-Monterey Quintet and the Roger Eddy Band kept things in a more bop vein, and the youthful Jonathan Batiste made the jazz tradition his own in the Coffee House Gallery. All in all the Grounds felt like a homecoming of sorts -- a sign of the rest of the weekend’s good vibes to come.
With a cool start, Saturday’s shows in the Arena started off with John Scofield and the Piety Street Band, who played a satisfying set of spirituals. The Arena crowd next gave American icon Pete Seeger a standing ovation as the curtains opened -- and then he proceeded, at 90 years old, to humble the crowd with a range of songs from “Midnight Special” to “This Land is your Land” which left the audience in a state of proud admiration. Susan Tedeschi grounded the audience again with her deep blues and soul. The evening’s Arena Shows were no less emotional, as the Joe Lovano Quartet taking the stage. With John Scofield replacing pianist Hank Jones (who was unable to attend due to health concerns) the anticipated stately piano quartet was supplanted with a raucous, post-bop set of epic proportions. Dee Dee Bridgewater followed with a provocative tour-de-force performance (and she would up the ante in her show in Dizzy’s Den presented by CareFusion later in the evening), and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis at the helm, was tough as nails with their hard-driving and virtuosic set.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Ruthie Foster gave a down-home set of blues to an ecstatic audience, with the New Orleans All Stars bringing it back to Crescent City with another rousing set on the Garden Stage. The Night Club had four eclectic sets, including the CSULB vocal group, Pacific Standard Time, the Monterey Bay Orchestra, the Hironobu Saito Quartet, and the very special Concert for Kids with Pete Seeger playing for a packed house of young ones and their parents. Later that evening, The MJF/52 All Stars gave another masterful performance in Dizzy’s Den presented by CareFusion, followed by the incendiary Soulive with special guest John Scofield (playing his third set of the day!) and then another dramatic performance by Dee Dee Bridgewater. The Rodriguez Brothers and Ambrose Akinmusire brought their dynamic bop to the Night Club, followed by the second performance of the weekend by Conrad Herwig’s Latin Side All Star Band.
Sunday continued the mellow vibe of the Festival with perfect Central Coast weather. As the winning bands from Monterey’s Next Generation Festival performed in the Night Club, the Next Generation Orchestra was in the Arena, with Wynton Marsalis as a special guest. George Duke brought the funk in his electric set in the last of the afternoon shows in the Arena. The evening’s shows got off to a cutting-edge start with Jason Moran and the Bandwagon premiere of “Feedback” – playing homage to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. With an array of sampled electric and extended acoustic sounds Moran played a Marshall stack of amplifiers with a microphone, placed in the very spot where Jimi Hendrix had them onstage in his 1967 U.S. debut at Monterey Pop. The progressive set was followed by the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Dave Brubeck from Roger Brown, the President of the Berklee College of Music, and was joined onstage by Clint Eastwood and Chick Corea, also Berklee honorary doctorate recipients. Brubeck then took to the stage with his Quartet and performed his 15th elegant set at Monterey with saxophonist Bobby Militello and drummer Randy Jones providing plenty of firepower. Sunday evening was topped of by the Chick Corea, Stanley Clark and Lenny White Trio, who revisited standards and classic Return to Forever tunes on acoustic instruments, in an inspiring re-imagined set.
On the Grounds, the Garden stage was a diverse exploration of jazz, with the CSULB Concert Jazz Orchestra, the straight-ahead trumpet of Scotty Barnhart, the inspiring debut of Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriquez, the outrageous and daring Buffalo Collision, and hip-hop sounds from the Shotgun Wedding Quintet. Joe Lovano’s Us Five went on a musical exploration in Dizzy’s Den presented by CareFusion, which was answered by the dynamic second set from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to close out the evening. In the Night Club, the Toshiko Akiyoshi / Lew Tabackin Quartet and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon delivered two exceptional sets -- Akiyoshi and Moran performing for the second time (fans of Akiyoshi seen her interviewed earlier in the day in Dizzy’s Den Presented by CareFusion.)
Throughout the weekend in the evenings, Lyons Lounge was pumping with the sounds of Vinnie Esparza and DJ Logic, and during the day, students came in and out of the Lounge in the new open mic jam session.
All through the Festival, fans enjoyed MJF’s new, non-musical offerings: The Taste Tent, which was jam packed throughout the weekend; The Green Scene, featuring environmentally friendly furniture, clothing, garden boxes, and other green elements; and the Festival’s new Farmers Market and Artisan Salad Bar, both a hit with fans craving natural foods and produce from a variety of Festival partners.
Verizon’s 25th anniversary as Presenting Partner of the Monterey Jazz Festival was celebrated with MJF presenting a new, silver trumpet -- The Verizon Silver Anniversary Trumpet – which will be presented to an accomplished musician participating in MJF’s Jazz Education Programs.
The Festival’s newest partners, CareFusion, hosted Dizzy’s Den throughout the weekend, offering their guests a hospitality chalet and offering fans a look at the company via its marketing tent on the Midway.
As the Festival came to a close at midnight on Sunday, exhausted and satisfied fans departed the Grounds with the feeling that something extraordinary had just been experienced during the weekend. The 40,000 fans that attended MJF in 2009 was a slight downturn from the record-breaking attendance figures from 2006-2008, but the exciting musical extravaganza made any anxiety of the country’s current economic situation dissolve away. From the traditional to the cutting edge and from the solo artist twenty-plus member big bands, Monterey served up an organic mix of artists that made MJF/52 a standout year, by any measure. Summed up by Pete Seeger’s leading a joyous sing-along of “This Land is Your Land” to Jason Moran saying “Beware of the next twenty minutes,” and the obligatory planes flying overhead, the Monterey Jazz Festival continues to delight and confound audiences and fans of all ages.
The 53rd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon will take place on the Monterey Fairgrounds September 17 - 19, 2010 with over 500 artists performing on 9 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of the world’s best jazz. MJF/53 Artist-In-Residence will be four-time Grammy-winning vocalist, Dianne Reeves.
The announcement regarding MJF/52 Arena and Grounds artists as well as information on ticket sales will be made on March 29, 2010.