Monterey Jazz Festival Announces 2017 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Members

20 High School Musicians from California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State Comprise the Festival’s Renowned National High School All-Star Big Band

NGJO Summer Tour Includes Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rochester, Toronto and Montreal International Jazz Festivals,
June 24-29

NGJO Performs with John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton at the 60th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival,
September 17

Monterey, CA; May 30, 2017; Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce the 2017 members of its flagship student ensemble, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Festival's internationally-renowned high school all-star big band, featuring the best high school jazz musicians in the country.

Twenty of the nation’s most talented high school musicians from eight states comprise the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, including California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State. Read the biographies of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members.

California musicians include students from Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Mateo, and Solano counties.

Five members of the orchestra are returning, including three-year trombonist Jasim Perales (Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif.); and trumpeter Carlos Ramos (Downey High School, Downey, Calif.). Two-time members include trumpeter Geoffrey Gallante (West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.); bass trombonist Joshua Hernandez (J.M. Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas); and pianist Luca Mendoza (Crossroads School, Santa Monica, Calif.).

The 2017 orchestra will travel to New York city on June 23 to prepare for their tour, which includes the Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center (Tannersville, New York June 24); Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York City, June 25); the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (Rochester, N.Y., June 27); TD Toronto Jazz Festival (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 28); and the Montreal Jazz Festival (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 29). The orchestra will return to Monterey to perform at the Garden Stage on the Monterey County Fairgrounds (Monterey, Calif., Sept. 14) with an evening performance at MJF’s Jazz Legends Gala at the Inn at Spanish Bay honoring Herbie Hancock (Pebble Beach, Calif.). In addition to other festival appearances, the Orchestra will perform with MJF60 Artists-in-Residence John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton on the Arena’s Jimmy Lyons Stage on Sunday, September 17.

Created in 1971 as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education, members of the orchestra are selected through an application and audition process during the Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival each spring. Former members of the orchestra include professional musicians such as pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, saxophonists Joshua Redman, Donny McCaslin, Eric Marienthal, Ted Nash, Mark Turner, and Dave Koz; flutist Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes, trombonist Andy Martin, trumpeters Gilbert Castellanos, and Ambrose Akinmusire, and big band leader Gordon Goodwin to name a few. In the past, the band has been under the leadership of Ladd McIntosh, Don Schamber, Benny Golson, and Bill Berry. Monterey Jazz Festival’s Education Director, Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flutist, has served as the as the director of the orchestra 2003, and presents the ensemble with some of the most challenging big band repertoire available.

The orchestra has also performed at jazz festivals and venues around the world including the North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, The Netherlands); Montreal Jazz Festival (Montreal, Canada); Umbria Jazz Festival (Perugia, Italy); International Music Festival (Dubrovnik, Croatia); Jazz at Lincoln Center, (New York City, New York); and many others on three continents.

Monterey Jazz Festival invests over $750,000 annually in its education program which includes jazz clinics in schools, a Summer Jazz Camp, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and more.

Tickets for the 60th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 15-17 are available by phone at 888.248.6499 and online at

About Monterey Jazz Festival
The Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates the legacy of jazz, expands its boundaries, and provides opportunities to experience jazz through the creative production of performances and educational programs.

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 Perales*** / 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 Reinier, vocals / Nueva Upper School, San Mateo, Calif.

** 2-year NGJO member
*** 3-year NGJO member

2017 Tour Dates

6.24: Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center, Tannersville, New York, 7:30pm
6.25: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 7:30/9:30pm
6.27: Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Jazz Street Stage, Rochester, New York, 7:30/9:30pm
6.28: TD Toronto Jazz Festival, OLG Stage, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 12pm
6.29: Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Main Stage, 6pm
9.14: Concert on the Lawn, Garden Stage, Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, Calif., 11am
9.14: Jazz Legends Gala, The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, Calif.
9.17: 60th Monterey Jazz Festival, Jimmy Lyons Stage, Monterey, Calif., 12:30pm


For more information, bios, interview opportunities, and high-resolution pictures, please contact:
Timothy Orr, Marketing Associate, Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.646.8670 / MJF Phone: 831.373.3366 /

Monterey Jazz Festival is honored to receive support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, NEA Art Works, Cal Humanities, Scheid Family Wines, North Coast Brewing, Blue Note at SeaHep C Hope®, Taylor Farms, Inns of Monterey, Macys, Montage Health, Integris Wealth Management, Monterey Bay Aquarium,, KAZU, KSBW/Estrella TV, JAZZIZ, DownBeat, and JazzTimes.