Each year, Monterey Jazz Festival brings together 21 of the most accomplished high school jazz musicians from across the country to form an all-star touring jazz orchestra. The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra meets each summer to rehearse with Education Director Paul Contos before embarking on a domestic or international tour that includes performances at several well-known jazz festivals. The program culminates in a main stage performance in September at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the annual Artist-In-Residence.
2017 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Paul Contos, Director
Aaron Kranzler, alto / Aragon High School, San Mateo, Calif.
Willie Bays, alto / Olympia High School, Olympia, Wash.
Abdias Armenteros, tenor / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Solomon Alber, tenor / Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, Calif.
Duncan McElman, baritone / Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, Calif.
Jasim Parales*** / Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif.
Leo Markel / Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Rashaan Salaam / Dillard High School, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Wyatt Forhan / St. Dominic High School, O'Fallon, Mo.
Joshua Hernandez** (bass) / J.M. Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas
Carlos Ramos*** / Downey High School, Downey, Calif.
Brandon Star / Smithtown High School East, St. James, N.Y.
Geoffrey Gallante** / West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.
Zaq Davis Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kate Williams / Vanden High School, Fairfield, Calif.
Luca Mendoza,** piano / Crossroads School, Santa Monica, Calif.
Jordan Reifkind, guitar / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, Calif.
Gabriel Rupe, bass / Denver School of the Arts, Denver, Colo.
Christian McGhee, drums / Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo.
Joshua Tazman, vocals, Nueva Upper School, San Mateo, Calif.
** 2-year NGJO member
*** 3-year NGJO member
In 2017, the Monterey Jazz Festival has produced several videos that are playing in front of specific artist appearances in the Arena.
Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Celebrating Paul Contos
Producers: Bob Danziger and Dan Ouellette
Historian: Bill Minor
Photography and Project Consultant: Stuart Brinin
Music and images: Monterey Jazz Festival Archives, Paul Contos, RND Archives, Felix Diaz-Contreras, Monterey Herald