60th Anniversary Edition
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura, Jamison Ross
March 15–April 14, 2019
The MJF on Tour 60th Anniversary Edition features a top roster of diverse and international millennial talent and the leaders of jazz’s future, including Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocals; Bria Skonberg, trumpet, vocals; Melissa Aldana, tenor saxophone; Christian Sands, piano and musical director; Jamison Ross, drums, vocals; and Yasushi Nakamura, bass.
In addition to having three unique and talented vocalists on the tour, and an equal balance of men and women, the show will feature renditions of classic jazz standards, along with originals penned by the members. Each musician is an outstanding representative of the next generation of jazz artists and educators, each with a close relationship with Monterey that represent both its musical excellence and jazz education activities—core components of Monterey Jazz Festival’s mission statement.
To celebrate the Festival’s 60th Anniversary of its inception in 2018, Artistic Director Tim Jackson put together an all-star band that represented the future of jazz in a nationwide tour. Previous incarnations include a 50th anniversary tour in 2008, and additional national tours in 2010, 2013, and 2016, with a collective 163 performances to over 115,000 fans across the country.
One of the most acclaimed vocalists of her generation, Cécile McLorin Salvant is the winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Other honors include selection for Jazz Album of the Year by the DownBeat International Critics Poll and NPR, as well as Up-and-Coming Jazz Artist of the Year and Top Female Vocalist from the Jazz Journalists Association. Cécile grew up in a bilingual household in Miami, and traveled to Aix-en-Provence to pursue a degree in French law while training as a classical and baroque singer before switching to jazz. “If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three—Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald—it is [her],” wrote the New York Times. Her last two Mack Avenue releases, For One to Love and Dreams and Daggers, each won Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Her newest Mack Avenue release, The Window, an album of duets with the pianist Sullivan Fortner, was released on September 28, 2018. Rolling Stone describes Cécile as “...one of the greatest jazz singers of her generation, but that label sells her short.”
Canadian singer, trumpeter and songwriter Bria Skonberg has been described as one of the “most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation” by the Wall Street Journal, recognized as one of 25 for the Future by DownBeat Magazine, and cited as a millennial “shaking up the jazz world” by Vanity Fair. Signed to Sony Music Masterworks’ OKeh Records, Bria released her eponymous major label debut in 2016, winning a Canadian JUNO award and making the Top 5 on Billboard jazz charts. Her many accolades include Best Vocal and Best Trumpet awards from Hot House Jazz Magazine, Outstanding Jazz Artist at the New York Bistro Awards, and DownBeat’s Rising Star award. In addition to performing at jazz festivals around the world, Bria is an avid educator and supporter of public school opportunities, giving numerous workshops and concerts for students of all ages. Bria debuted at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2016.
Tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana was born in Santiago, Chile, and in 2013, she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. Aldana attended the Berklee College of Music, studying with George Garzone, Danilo Pérez and Patricia Zarate, while hitting the clubs with Greg Osby and George Coleman, among others. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize. She has released four albums as a leader, including her latest, Back Home, on Concord. Melissa “…balances technical bravura with musical depth, a hallmark of her playing,” writes the Chicago Tribune. Melissa made her MJF debut in 2014.
Pianist and MJF on Tour Music Director Christian Sands is a five-time Grammy nominee. As a child in New Haven, Connecticut, he began music classes at age four, started playing professionally at the age of 10, and received his bachelor of arts and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. A protégé of Dr. Billy Taylor, Christian began a six-year association with bassist Christian McBride in 2009, touring jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. Sands has followed in Dr. Taylor’s footsteps by encouraging, inspiring and advocating for the preservation and history of jazz, teaching young people as well as adult audiences. In 2015, he started the Jazz Kids of Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark; he also teaches at Jazz in July, where he is an alumnus. His debut for Mack Avenue, Reach, “showcases his significant talents as an imaginative composer, a clever arranger and a skillful technician with a fluid style,” wrote DownBeat. His new Mack Avenue release, Facing Dragons, was released on September 21, 2018 and was reviewed by NPR as a “...crisply assured new album...that expresses new ideas without abandoning the old.”
Grammy-nominated drummer and vocalist Jamison Ross won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2012. A Jacksonville, Florida native, Jamison received his B.A. in Jazz Studies from Florida State University and his master’s from the University of New Orleans. He has toured internationally and recorded with a variety of esteemed jazz artists including Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jonathan Batiste, Dr. John, Jon Cleary, Christian McBride, and Carmen Lundy. His debut album, Jamison, was released on Concord Records and was nominated as for a Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy in 2015. He released his latest album, All for One, in January 2018. Jamison’s “roots in jazz and gospel give him thrilling chops and unfailing feel,” writes NPR. Jamison made his MJF debut in 2016.
Bassist Yasushi Nakamura is one of the most commanding voices on bass today. Born in Tokyo, Nakamura moved to Seattle, Washington, eventually receiving his bachelor’s in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music, and an artist diploma from the Juilliard School. He has recorded or performed around the world with Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Dave Douglas, and many others. As an educator, Nakamura has led master classes and summer intensive courses at Juilliard, The New School, Koyo Conservatory, Osaka Geidai, and Savannah Swing Central. Nakamura made his highly-anticipated album debut as leader in late 2016 with A Lifetime Treasure, followed by Hometown in 2017. Nakamura first appeared at MJF in 2004.
2019 TOUR DATES
March 15: New York, N.Y. / The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall (2 sets)
March 16: New York, N. Y. / The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall (2 sets)
March 17: Boston, Mass. / Berklee Performance Center
March 19: Troy, N.Y. / Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
March 21: Bethesda, Md. / Strathmore College, the Music Center
March 22: State College, Pa. / Penn State University, Eisenhower Auditorium
March 23: Philadelphia, Pa. / Kimmell Center, Verizon Hall
March 24: East Lansing, Mich. / Michigan State University, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Cobb Great Hall
March 26: Omaha, Neb. / Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall
March 28: Baton Rouge, La. / Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts
March 29: Meridian, Miss. / Mississippi State University, Riley Center
March 30: Memphis, Tenn. / Germantown Performing Arts Center
March 31: Fayetteville, Ark. / Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall
April 2: Portland, Ore. / Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
April 3: Berkeley, Calif. / University of California Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall
April 4: Rohnert Park, Calif. / Sonoma State University, Weill Hall at Green Music Center
April 5: Los Angeles, Calif. / Walt Disney Concert Hall
April 7: Seattle, Wash. / Moore Theatre
April 8: Santa Barbara, Calif. / University of California Santa Barbara, Campbell Hall
April 9: Mesa, Ariz. / Mesa Arts Center, Ikeda Theater
April 11: Calgary, Alberta, Canada / Jack Singer Concert Hall
April 12: Chicago, Ill. / Chicago Symphony Center
April 13: Notre Dame, Ind. / University of Notre Dame, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
April 14: Ann Arbor, Mich. / University of Michigan, Michigan Theater