Monterey Jazz Festival Traveling Clinicians for 2017-2018

November 03, 2017
BY timOTHY ORR

Since 1983, Monterey Jazz Festival has sent professional musicians into the local school systems in Monterey County as a way to nurture young musicians. not only creating artists for the future, but fans as well. This easily scalable program has been a model for arts education organizations around the world to teach students the art of jazz, human interaction, leadership, responsibility, discipline, and democracy within a group setting.

The program also engage the local residents, businesses and government entities by building a performing arts infrastructure that all members of the community can enjoy. Many other jazz education programs around the country have replicated the successes we’ve had, as evidenced by a recent expantion of educational programs at SFJAZZ.

In 2017, our Traveling Clinicians in the MJF in the Schools program are successful professional musicians and educators that have had a long history with the Monterey Jazz Festival’s other education components, and they are excited to give back to the system that has nurtured many like-minded students. MJF Education Director and saxophonist Paul Contos heads the program, as he has done since its inception. You can read their full bios here.

Multi-instrumentalist Kyle Athayde has long been a gifted participant as a trumpeter and vibraphonist in Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Kyle was also the winning composer for the 2006 Composition Competition, now called the Gerald Wilson Award. Kyle was also a MJF Summer Jazz Camp instructor in 2017.

BELOW: Kyle Athade’s Composition, “By Candlelight” at MJF49, performed by the 2006 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Bassist and vocalist Katie Thiroux was a 2006 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra member as a high school student (she's seen on the video above), and also participated in the Next Generation Jazz Festival with the Hamilton High School. In college at Berklee, Katie was the bassist in the 2007 Berklee-Monterey Quartet which performed at MJF50, and she additionally won NGJF soloist awards as a graduate student with California State University, Long Beach in 2011. Katie also was a presenter of the 2015 Jimmy Lyons Scholarship Award at MJF58.

Vocal clinician Gaw Vang Williams became the director of vocal jazz ensembles at Sacramento State in 2014. Since then, Sac State Vocal Jazz program has won seven DownBeat Student Awards. In addition, the Sac State vocal jazz ensembles took first place consecutively in 2016 and 2017 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in the collegiate vocal jazz ensemble category, and most recently performed at the 60th annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2017.

BELOW: The winning performance from Sacramento State University Vox Now at the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival under the directorship of Gaw Vang Williams.

Drummer Malachi Whitson has been part of the strong Berkeley High School jazz programs that have performed at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and in 2010, he was selected for the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. In addition to winning soloist awards at the NGJF in 2011 with the first-place SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, he also won an additional award with the first-place University of the Pacific Combo in 2015. While at UOP, he was also a Brubeck Institute Fellow, and received a jazz performance bachelor’s degree in 2015, becoming the first African-American Brubeck Fellow to receive a degree from the university.

BELOW: Malachi Whitson at the 2010 Next Generation Jazz Festival with the SFJAZZ All-Stars Combo.

Malachi Whitson at the 2010 Next Generation Jazz Festival

We look forward to having this new crop of gifted Traveling Clinicians guide young students towards success!