Quarter Note Newsletter

December 2013 / Volume 1, Issue 1Download PDF


We welcome you to this inaugural issue of the revamped and revitalized Monterey Jazz Festival Newsletter, now called Quarter Note. Over the next year, we will bring you a quarterly newsletter, featuring profiles of our education programs, donors and sponsors, and updates on our activities. This is your chance to learn about what the organization does the other 362 days of the year when we are not presenting the annual Monterey Jazz Festival. We have some exciting things coming up in the next quarter, so stay tuned.

Terry O’Connor, President
Monterey Jazz Festival Board of Directors

Paul Contos, Education Director

Monterey Jazz Festival’s Traveling Clinicians

Since 1984, Monterey Jazz Festival has sent top professional musicians and vocalists, known as the Traveling Clinicians, to work with hundreds of students in private and public classrooms throughout Monterey County, including underserved communities. Starting in November and culminating in April, the clinicians work with both students and music directors in helping ensembles prepare for performances and music festivals. The clinicians recognize the area’s top players from participating schools with a place in one of Monterey Jazz Festival’s Honor Ensembles, which tour annually.

The Forefront of Jazz Education

From its inception in 1958, Monterey Jazz Festival has been at the forefront of jazz education. Founded as a non-profit corporation, Monterey Jazz Festival invests more than half a million dollars every year in Jazz Education programs. With your help, this investment has resulted in a number of other innovative and successful jazz education programs including:

Next Generation Jazz Festival – Referred to as “the Super Bowl of jazz education” by Joshua Redman, the Festival is held annually every spring, hosting the highest level of middle school, high school and college ensembles throughout the U.S.

Next Generation Jazz Orchestra – Monterey Jazz Festival’s national touring big band, comprised of the top high school jazz musicians and future jazz stars in the U.S.

Summer Jazz Camp – Held annually in June, professional faculty convene an intensive two-week jazz laboratory with students, including four public performances.

Monterey County Honor Ensembles – selected by Traveling Clinicians, three All-Star Ensembles comprising High School All-Star Big Band, High School Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Middle School Honor Band.

Artist-In-Residence – a respected name jazz artist works three times per year in various settings, mentoring and coaching jazz students, with special appearances and performances.

Digital Music Education Project (DMEP) – an online portal available through Monterey Jazz Festival’s website, featuring valuable personal interviews as well as tips for musicians by a comprehensive roster of reputable and wide-ranging jazz artists.

Meet Howard Fisher, Dedicated Festival Patron

Howard & Roz Fisher

We would like to shine the spotlight on one of Monterey Jazz Festival’s most dedicated patrons, Howard Fisher. Howard’s love of jazz goes back to his childhood. His dad, a San Francisco pianist and band leader, instilled in Howard an appreciation for music. “There was always music in the house,” recalls Howard, “and my dad’s favorite pianist was Erroll Garner; I remember him pointing out to me the complex voicing in Garner’s chords. My first spiritual connection to the Monterey area, and indirectly to the Festival, was through Garner’s classic album, Concert by the Sea. Jimmy Lyons, who was a disc jockey and lived in Big Sur at the time, brought Garner to Carmel to play the concert, which resulted in the 1955 recording—three years before Lyons founded the Monterey Jazz Festival.”

Although Howard didn’t follow his dad into the music business, he has played trumpet, off and on, since he was 12 years old—including 2 ½ years in a U.S. Army band in Germany. He is currently playing in the Monterey Peninsula College big band. He says, “I enjoy playing the music, the charts are often challenging, and I struggle with the harmonic structure of an occasional solo. So I know how hard it is to play good jazz and am in awe of the genius of the great jazz artists who have graced the Monterey Jazz Festival stages.”

Howard grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, graduated from U.C. Berkeley, and worked for Stanford Research Institute. Howard and his wife, Roz, have two grown sons and three grandchildren. They were long-time supporters of the Stanford Jazz Workshop while living in the Bay Area. Howard and Roz attended their first Monterey Jazz Festival after moving to Carmel in 2000. Initially, they purchased grounds tickets to the Festival, but were soon drawn in by its ambiance and the great music. “Just walking around the grounds between shows is a wonderful experience,” says Howard, “the crowd is so mellow, diverse, and friendly—a reflection of jazz itself.”

The Fishers soon became supporters of the Festival, and in 2010 Howard was asked to become the first MJF Ambassador. “As ambassador,” he says, “I encourage our friends to attend MJF functions with us, such as the annual Jazz Legends Gala fundraising dinner, the Next Generation Jazz Festival in April, and special receptions and events I sponsor to introduce them to the MJF jazz education programs.”  Howard remembers attending a master class during the 2010 Next Generation Jazz Festival, in which the Artist-In-Residence, Dianne Reeves, “brought tears” to his eyes because of the impact she made on the four talented young singers in her master class.

Monterey Jazz Festival’s Board of Directors and staff appreciate all the support that Howard has provided over the years. We look forward to many more years of sharing the MJF experience with Howard and his family.

56th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Recap

Gregory Porter

The 56th Monterey Jazz Festival took place September 20-22. Highlights from 2013 include the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, performing their commission piece in tribute to Dave Brubeck, and Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club in the Arena. Snarky Puppy created quite a buzz in Dizzy’s Den. Despite some light drizzle on Saturday morning, Arena highlights included incredible sets from George Benson, Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas: Sound Prints (debuting two new pieces by Wayne Shorter); Dave Holland’s Prism, and a quietly powerful set from Bobby McFerrin. Saturday’s Grounds highlights include standing-room-only crowds for Ravi Coltrane, Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, the California Honeydrops, and Mary Stallings.

Sunday’s Arena highlights were the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra with Artist-In-Residence, Joe Lovano; Bob James and David Sanborn, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, and Diana Krall. On the Grounds, NEA Jazz Masters Lou Donaldson and Bobby Hutcherson were crowd pleasers, as was Davina and the Vagabonds, who were considered the breakout artist of 2013. Dr. Lonnie Smith, the closing act, played a legendary set until late Sunday night, far beyond the official closing time!

2013 Jazz Legends Gala Honors
Wayne Shorter

Featured Partner: North Coast Brewing Co.
(Official Beer)

Now in their eighth year as a partner of Monterey Jazz Festival, North Coast Brewing Company has signed on to continue as the Official Beer of Monterey Jazz Festival through 2017. The Fort Bragg-based company is currently the longest contiguous financial supporter of the Festival. An advocate for jazz education, North Coast Brewing Company has also been a longtime contributor to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, making donations for every case of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold.

Doug Moody, Senior Vice President and Sales Manager of North Coast Brewing, has been a “hardcore jazz fan” for ages. “It’s been a privilege
for us to be associated with both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and to be able to contribute in some
measure to this American art form.”

To show their support of jazz education, this fall, North Coast Brewing Company sponsored the Education Pavilion at the 56th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. The North Coast Brewing Company Jazz Education Pavilion hosted beer tastings of their Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Pranqster, Le Merle and Old Stock Ale, as well as Monterey Jazz Festival’s Silent Auction which, all together, helped Monterey Jazz Festival raise nearly $22,000!

In addition to partnering with Monterey Jazz Festival and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, North Coast Brewing is also a supporter of Northern California jazz organizations, including the Redwood Jazz Alliance and the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

A pioneer in the craft beer movement, North Coast Brewing Company opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg,
located on California’s Mendocino Coast. Under the leadership of Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, the brewery has developed a strong reputation for quality having won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions. These exceptional beers are available in 47 states now and also are exported to Europe and the Pacific Rim.


Share this page!