37,000 Fans Witness Historic Performances, September 19-21
“Last weekend’s Monterey Jazz Festival was yet another reason the event remains one of the art form’s true standard bearers. [O]ne could experience past, present and future over the course of three days, including several hybridized shades, and the sense of interconnectedness was quite palpable.”
—Willard Jenkins, The Independent Ear
“…the festival’s 57th edition this past weekend felt like a watershed. Saturday night’s arena headliner was a jazz-influenced hip-hop act, The Roots, which topped a thematic through-line of contemporary African-American music that placed the festival firmly in the present. It was a meaty, satisfying lineup.”
—Paul de Barros, Seattle Times
“What a tradition, the Monterey Jazz Festival. You walk through those gates, and it feels like home, every time.”
—Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
“…the Monterey Jazz Festival…triumphed as a study in artistic contrasts. Saturday night exemplified the diversity of expression at Monterey this year. At Dizzy’s Den, the Philadelphia Experiment served up a hefty slab of spontaneous jazz-funk. An hour later in the Arena, Billy Childs premiered his sublimely melodic Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro project…Childs has played Monterey frequently and scored commissioned pieces for the festival, but his effervescent Nyro tribute proved to be his best outing yet…”
–Dan Ouellette, DownBeat
“The Monterey Jazz Festival has managed to reflect the vastness of jazz, from its most accessible and party-ambience-suitable to at least relative abstraction and outer limits.”
—Josef Woodard, allaboutjazz.com
“It only takes one time to fall in love with the music, the ambience, and the setting...the perfect MJF experience lies somewhere between adhering to a schedule and hanging loose.”
—Pamela Espeland, Bebopified.com
“…we were exposed to such a saturation of talent just walking from venue to venue or vendor to vendor, that it felt like our souls were getting over-full from a feast…”
—Walter Ryce, Monterey County Weekly
“…The Roots, which in my eyes and ears was hands-down the finest, most memorable performance of not just this year, but of the last dozen years. In fact, I can't recall another performance in my 30-plus years I have been covering the festival that was more exciting, energized, provocative, ear-opening, and yes, controversial, than Saturday night's hour-long set by this band of supremely talented musicians.”
—Mac McDonald, Monterey County Herald
“As the western Texas native [Gary Clark Jr] began his set, it was apparent that the stoic sea of baby boomers were unfamiliar with his sound. Arms folded, the audience looked like it was waiting for something big to happen…The paradigm shift occurred during the bluesy "When My Train Pulls In”…it was his vicious guitar solo, filled with sliding sounds and colorful distortions, that woke everybody up. The song only lasted for eight minutes, but that was enough time to make everyone who saw him on stage a believer. The rest of set was met with cheers and standing ovations.”
—Sam Frank, Unrated Magazine
"This festival is my summer vacation...there's nothing like it."
—Blue Note President Don Was to KUSP 88.9 FM Central Coast Public Radio
October 2, 2014, Monterey, CA: The 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday, September 21 after an outstanding weekend of exceptional performances by debut artists, returning masters and new favorites. Over 37,000 fans came through the gates of the Monterey County Fairgrounds during the weekend of September 19-21, a 7.5 percent increase from 2013. The weekend featured diverse styles of music from around the globe, from classic piano trios and modern jazz to Latin, New Orleans and jazz-inflected hip-hop, with engaging conversations, films, and comprehensive exhibits.
Musical Highlights: Friday
The Festival began on Friday, September 19 with a theatrical edge in the Arena, with Cecile McLorin Salvant’s debut performance, followed by Robert Glasper and Jason Moran playing an improvised piano duo on a single piano, afterwards Glasper’s electric Experiment played a thrilling set. Herbie Hancock plugged in as well to close the night in the Arena as he continued to make the Arena shake.
On the Grounds, SambaDa got the music off to a Brazilian start on the Garden Stage, followed by the tenor powerhouse of Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, and the piano and vocalist of the Sarah McKenzie. Harold Mabern launched into three sets what would be a weekend of piano trios in the Coffee House, and Dizzy’s Den was treated to the inspired world music of Sangam with Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland, followed by the Paki-jazz of Red Baraat. The Night Club, also packed to capacity, was treated to the Brazilian samba of Claudia Villela and Harvey Wainapel, the Christian McBride Trio, and Cecile McLorin Salvant’s second set of the evening.
Musical Highlights: Saturday
Saturday’s Arena shows began what should become a legendary day on Monterey’s history. Davina and The Vagabonds, last year’s breakthrough act, performed a heartfelt and high energy set, which was followed by a crowd-pleasing hit parade from Booker T. Jones. Gary Clark Jr. performed a slow-moving and powerful avalanche of blues, converting the crowd to believers. The evening’s performances included the Aaron Diehl Commission piece, dedicated to John Lewis, Three Streams of Expression, and contained the blues and Bach style that the Modern Jazz Quartet made famous. Billy Childs’ Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro then took center stage, with the vocal talents of Becca Stevens, Shawn Colvin and Lisa Fischer each bringing highly emotional performances to the debut of Childs’ new song cycle. The Roots then performed their hour-long, continuous high energy set of mash-up of jazz fusion, hip-hip and rock, which proved to be polarizing – either fans loved it or hated it, and The Roots cemented their place in Monterey history with their groundbreaking Arena show. Anecdotally, more than one journalist mentioned that Saturday’s Arena shows compared to the1967 Monterey Pop Festival in their musical diversity.
The Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines was blazing all day long, with outstanding, filled to capacity shows by Red Baraat, Davina and The Vagabonds, Ana Popovic, Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party and the Pete Escovedo Orchestra.
The Coffee House hosted several Ashley Kahn-led conversations about Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary and Mulgrew Miller and James Williams, with piano-centric music afterwards by Sarah McKenzie Quintet and three sets from the Donald Brown Trio. Dizzy’s Den began in the same way, with the DownBeat Blindfold Test with Lionel Loueke, and then for the next 10 hours, it was all music until midnight with half hour breaks – from the J. Hanrahan Quartet, the Becca Stevens Band, the Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary Band “Our Point of View,” the Philadelphia Experiment, Charles Lloyd and Gerald Clayton Duo, and the Billy Childs Quartet. Standout performances that had patrons, journalists and staff talking for days afterwards were “Our Point of View” with Ambrose Akinmusire, Robert Glasper, Lionel Loueke, Kendrick Scott, Marcus Strickland, and Derrick Hodge; and the Philadelphia Experiment with Questlove, Christian McBride, and Uri Caine.
The Night Club, also filled to capacity for much of Saturday, featured a wide range of musical styles, from the winning student groups from the 2014 Next Generation Jazz Festival (CSU Long Beach Pacific Standard Time and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra) and the USAF Commanders Jazz Ensemble to the Cuban Habaneros, who enjoyed a standing ovation after every song. The evening’s shows were highlighted by a truly amazing sets from Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton, Eric Harland Voyager and the Aaron Diehl Quartet.
Musical Highlights: Sunday
Sunday’s Arena shows began with a youthful start 2014 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, which featured the country’s finest high school student musicians and Artist-In-Residence, Eric Harland. Jon Batiste and Stay Human, a new Monterey favorite, created a New Orleans party atmosphere in the Arena as they topped off their show with a second line around the Arena floor. Marcus Miller capped off the afternoon with a crowd pleasing and emotional show.
The evening’s Arena performances were kicked off by the Charles Lloyd Quartet, who entranced the audience with their easygoing, yet challenging music. The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra took to the stage once again as the backing band for Michael Feinstein’s Sinatra Project, where Mr. Feinstein told stories and sang songs associated with the “Chairman of the Board” to close the evening on a theatrical note.
In the Night Club, the inspiring end energetic five winning bands from the 2014 Next Generation Jazz Festival performed along with the Festival’s own Monterey County Honor Bands, with the final evening shows packing in for sets from the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet and Delfeayo and Ellis Marsalis.
Dizzy’s Den was the scene of a wide swath of music – including the exploratory Middle Space Collective and Daniel Rosenboom Quintet. Michael Feinstein spoke with Ashley Kahn about the Great American Songbook, and the evening’s shows were once again the Hammond B-3 Blowout – this time with Pamela Rose and Wayne De La Cruz and the Tony Monaco Trio.
The Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines also had stellar performances by winning Next Generation top bands – the Northgate High School Big Band and the University of Miami Frost Concert Band, followed by the amazing vocalist Youn Sun Nah and Ulf Wakenius, another Monterey best-of-weekend pick by fans. Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band, Harold Lopez-Nussa, and Ben Flocks and Battle Mountain closed out the day with inspired sets.
The Coffee House was the home to Family Day with the Bari Koral Rock Band, followed by the Tucson Jazz Institute “Concord” Combo and the USC Thornton Jazz Honors Combo, more top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Geoffrey Keezer and his trio played two final sets of hard bop to end the evening.
All weekend long, Jeremy Siskind and friends were featured on the Courtyard Stage, and the Coffee House Galley exhibit presented the posters of Earl Newman and a Blue Note Records album art exhibit. The Jazz Theater also showed simulcasts of the Arena performances, as well as two screenings of Arrows Into Infinity, a documentary about Charles Lloyd.
The new grass sod in the Arena was also a hit, providing a green carpet for patrons to enjoy during the weekend. After the Festival, the grass sod was donated to the Monterey community for free, and it took just over 24 hours for 20,000 square feet of grass to be taken away by locals.
2014 Partners Add Excitement to the Weekend
Partners provided activities and events throughout the weekend to enhance the Festival experience for our patrons. Alaska Airlines presented the Garden Stage, Amoeba Records was set up at the center of the Midway with their always-popular artist meet and greets and record signings. North Coast Brewing Company, celebrating their ninth year as Official Monterey Jazz Festival Beers, hosted the North Coast Brewing Jazz Education Pavilion for the second year in a row, featuring the Monterey Jazz Festival Silent Auction to support the Festival’s Jazz Education Programs. Scheid Family Wines, Official Wines of Monterey Jazz Festival, hosted the District 7 Artist Bar Cafe, offering a casual, relaxing area for our patrons to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail. DownBeat, JazzTimes, The Jazz Cruise, The Inns of Monterey, Kaiser Permanente, Aspire Health Plan, Chukchansi, Small Planet, Macy’s, and KUSP all hosted booths on the Midway. In addition to providing instruments for the Festival's needs, Yamaha hosted the Yamaha Experience Tent all weekend and the popular Instrument Petting Zoo featured during Sunday's Family Day.
The free Webcasts from the Night Club and the Arena Stages at the 57th Monterey Jazz Festival resulted in nearly 1900 people from 50 countries on five continents tuning into the streams all weekend, made possible by tech partners StreamGuys. Media Partner KUSP Central Coast Public Radio also provided terrestrial broadcasts from the Jimmy Lyons Stage, and in-depth interviews with artists live on the air. Pandora, a new partner of the Festival, created a Monterey Jazz Festival online radio station for fans to enjoy, and the free 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival App had over 1900 users during the weekend.
The announcement of 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival Arena and Grounds artists will be made in spring 2015, when tickets for the 58th Monterey Jazz Festival will be available for purchase.
The 58th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival will take place on the Monterey County Fairgrounds, September 18-20, 2015, with more than 500 artists performing on 8 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of the world's best jazz.
For more information please contact:
Timothy Orr, Marketing Associate
Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.646.8670
Monterey Office: 831.373.3366