56th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Celebrates an Outstanding Weekend of Music

35,000 Fans Enjoyed Historic Performances, September 20–22

“The Monterey Jazz Festival would be an astounding attraction if it focused only on presenting superstar performers. But, anyone who has experienced the MJF at any time over the past half-century knows that this festival is much more than that.” –Santa Cruz Weekly

“It might be…the best music festival in the world.” –SF Weekly

“[The] sense of community and unity is at the heart of the
Monterey Jazz Festival…” –Good Times Weekly

“Congress is imploding, and the wheels of government may soon grind to a halt. Big deal. The Monterey Jazz Festival opens tonight. It’s nearly mythic in stature, yet relaxed, a place to hear dozens of the best jazz musicians over the course of a weekend.” –San Jose Mercury News

“…if that wasn't the most perfect opening night ever, it must be somewhere in the top ten.” –Bebopified.com

“Benson dipped into his bag of hits…and got the sun-drenched crowd up and pulsing like one big, funky heart.. the 56th edition of this magnificent event felt as strong as ever...” –Seattle Times

“At the Arena, Bob James and David Sanborn drew a huge crowd. Their Quartette Humaine with famed drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus was one of the most talked-about events of the Festival, and the line that formed later for CD signings one of the longest.” –Jazzpolice.com

“Monterey Jazz Festival is admittedly a dually grueling and exciting event…Once you go…you'll return. The atmosphere, artists and international camaraderie are happily addictive.”
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

“Monterey…remains a standard-bearer, demonstrating the ways music and location can intoxicate the senses. Monterey's strength lies in its desire to stay current, to spotlight new artists or those whose music attracts less mainstream appeal­–an admirable practice. Experiencing it fully is a test; the indefatigable win.” –Jazz FM91 (Toronto)

“Minnesota's Davina & The Vagabonds…treated a standing-room-only crowd at the Garden Stage with a lively 90 minutes of ragtime, boogie woogie and New Orleans jazz Sunday night. The singer/pianist and her band were easily among the breakout stars at this year's festival.” –Monterey County Herald

“One of this year’s no-brainer highlights was a spotlight on the mysterious traveler and jazz Prometheus Wayne Shorter, riding high and sounding amazing in his 80th birthday year.” –Santa Barbara Independent

“Diana [Krall] has had a magical relationship with Monterey, dating back to her debut there at MJF 40. She retains the ability to take nearly forgotten material from decades past and bring it to life…her diversity is startling, or would be if she didn’t pull it off so effortlessly. It is hard to imagine another vocalist who has that kind of range today, and can do it all so movingly.” ­ –International Review of Music

“Dr. Lonnie Smith’s trio, a wonderfully organic threesome…went blissfully beyond the curfew boundaries late on Sunday night, keeping the festival torch burning after many had hit the road. The good Dr., and the Monterey muse, just wasn’t ready to call it quits yet.” –JazzTimes

October 7, 2013, Monterey, CA: The 56th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday, September 22 after an outstanding weekend of exceptional performances by debut artists, returning masters and new favorites.

Despite rain on Saturday, September 21, 35,000 fans came through the gates of the Monterey County Fairgrounds during the weekend of September 20-22, which featured music from around the globe, and from all styles of classic and modern jazz, Latin, gospel, New Orleans, and funk, with historic conversations, three different films, and comprehensive exhibits.

Musical Highlights: Friday
The Festival began on Friday, September 20 with astounding set from vocalist Gregory Porter, an emotional set from the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and truly inspiring music from Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club in the Arena.

On the Grounds, Roberto Fonseca got the music off to a great start on the Garden Stage, followed by the 2013 edition of the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, and the trancelike fusion of 7 Come 11. Coffee House attendees were treated to three sets from the Uri Caine Trio, and the Night Club was packed for sets from 2013 Showcase Artist Dave Douglas, vocalist Carmen Lundy and 2013 Artist-In-Residence, Joe Lovano and Us Five. In Dizzy’s Den, Snarky Puppy made their Festival debut to a full house, as did Gregory Porter, for his second set of the evening.

Musical Highlights: Saturday
The Arena shows on Saturday began on a psychedelic note with the gospel of The Relatives, followed by a smashing set from powerhouse George Benson. The Garden Stage also provided an afternoon and evening of emerging stars, beginning with the rootsy California Honeydrops, the new-New Orleans mashup of Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and The Relatives in their second high-energy set. Evening came with its own set of special performances presented by Motema Music, including a solo recital by bassist Charnett Moffett; a heartfelt duo of Mr. Moffett and guitarist Jana Herzen; the Marc Cary Focus Trio, and Brian Jackson and The New Midnight Band, featuring M1 and Kentyah, running late into the evening.

The Coffee House featured an intimate forum for two sets from the Smith Dobson’s Prez Kids, celebrating the music of Lester Young, the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, and three trendsetting piano sets from the Orrin Evans Trio. In Dizzy’s Den, a historic panel discussion took place about the late Dave Brubeck, featuring rare recordings and slides with Eugene Wright and the Brubeck Brothers, followed by Joe Lovano being put on the spot for the 2013 DownBeat Blindfold Test. In the evening, stellar sets from Ravi Coltrane, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola, and Sound Prints were met by capacity crowds. The Night Club featured the winning bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival; Claire Daly, and the flame-carrying Brubeck Institute Quintet. The evening’s Night Club shows featured the eclectic Craig Taborn, the dynamic Mary Stallings, and the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, all streaming live on the Web. 

Back on the Arena Stage, Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas: Sound Prints debuted two new pieces by Wayne Shorter. Dave Holland’s Prism broke raucous new ground in the fusion field, which was balanced by Bobby McFerrin, performing a quietly powerful and inspiring set to a hushed Arena audience.

Musical Highlights: Sunday
Sunday’s Arena shows began with a youthful start with the winner of the 2013 Next Generation Jazz Festival, the Folsom High School Jazz Band I, making their debut on the Jimmy Lyons Stage, followed by the latest edition of Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, which featured the country’s finest high school student musicians and Artist-In-Residence, Joe Lovano. The fabled Bob James and David Sanborn made their much-anticipated appearance in a performance that was emotionally satisfying on many levels.

The evening’s Arena performances were kicked off by the Wayne Shorter Quartet, making one their finest appearances of the year, according to journalists. Diana Krall then closed the Jimmy Lyons Stage with a set that included her own unique take on the Americana and the American songbook, closing with “Prairie Lullaby.”

In the Night Club, the inspiring end energetic five winning bands from the 2013 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 NEA Jazz Masters Lou Donaldson and Bobby Hutcherson, who dedicated his set to the late Cedar Walton, who had been scheduled to appear.

Dizzy’s Den was treated to an afternoon of legendary musicians, talk and music, with the often hilarious Lou Donaldson and a wide-ranging discussion with iconic drummer Jim Keltner. In the evening, Keltner would return to perform in the Hammond B3 Blowout with the Anthony Wilson Trio, followed by a raucous and titanic set from Dr. Lonnie Smith, who played until late Sunday night, far beyond the official closing time of the Festival.

The Garden Stage showcased fine performances from the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, the Tammy Hall Quintet, and Davina and the Vagabonds (who was considered by many to be the breakout band of the Festival). The Paul Contos Quartet also dedicated their set to Cedar Walton.

Coffee House goers were treated to Family Day with Peter Alsop and Cal State Northridge’s Fantastic Planet, with two final visionary evening sets from the trio, Phronesis.

All weekend long, Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman were featured on the Courtyard Stage, and the Coffee House Galley exhibit presented Dave Brubeck’s history with the Monterey Jazz Festival in an emotional display. The Jazz Theater Presented by Alaska Airlines also showed simulcasts of the Arena performances, as well as three films about iconic tenor saxophonists – The Language of the Unknown (a film about Wayne Shorter); Round Midnight (a post-film discussion featured Dexter Gordon’s widow, Lorraine, and Ravi Coltrane); and Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes.

More quotes about the 56th Monterey Jazz Festival can be read here.

2013 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 Jazz Theater for the second year, enabling Grounds patrons to see Arena Simulcasts and jazz films. Amoeba Records was set up at the center of the Midway, featuring CDs, rare vinyl, and always-popular artist meet and greets and record signings. North Coast Brewing Company, celebrating their 8th year as Official Monterey Jazz Festival Beers, was proud to showcase their passion for jazz education at the North Coast Brewing Jazz Education Pavilion which featured the Monterey Jazz Festival Silent Auction and specialty North Coast Beer and Scheid Wine tastings – proceeds from all went to Monterey Jazz Festival’s Jazz Education Programs. Scheid Vineyards, Official Wines of Monterey Jazz Festival, presented the Scheid Vineyards Artists Bar & Lounge, offering a casual, relaxing area for our patrons to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail and watch the Arena simulcast. In addition to Macy’s booth on the Midway, the department store hosted a private shopping event Sunday morning of the Festival, featuring youth musicians from Monterey Jazz Festival’s Jazz Education Programs. DownBeat, JazzTimes, The Jazz Cruise, The Inns of Monterey, KKJZ, and KUSP all hosted booths on the Midway as well. In addition to providing instruments for the Festival's needs, Yamaha hosted the popular Instrument Petting Zoo featured during Sunday's Family Day.

The free Webcast from the Night Club and the Arena Stages at the 56th Monterey Jazz Festival resulted in over 3000 people from 40 countries 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.

The free 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival App was also a hit, with over 1500 people downloading it during the weekend.

The announcement of 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Arena and Grounds artists will be made in spring 2014, when tickets for the 57th Monterey Jazz Festival will be available for purchase.

The 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival will take place on the Monterey Fairgrounds, September 19 - 21, 2014, with more than 500 artists performing on 8 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of the world's best jazz.

Drummer Eric Harland will be Monterey Jazz Festival’s Artist-In-Residence in 2014.


For more information and interview opportunities please contact:
Timothy Orr, Marketing Associate
Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 510.652.1122
Monterey Office: 831.373.3366