The California High School All-Star Band was created in 1971 as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education.
Renamed the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra in 2004, former members include pianists Benny Green, Patrice Rushen, James Francies, Emmet Cohen, and Kris Bowers, bassists Larry Grenadier and bassist/producer Mike Elizondo; drummers Carlos Vega, Chad Wackerman, Jaz Sawyer, Marcus Gilmore, and Justin Brown; saxophonists Joshua Redman, Donny McCaslin, Mark Turner, Eric Marienthal, Ted Nash, Dayna Stephens, Eddie Barbash, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, and Dave Koz; trombonists Luis Bonilla, Natalie Cressman and Andy Martin, flutist Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes; trumpeters Gilbert Castellanos, Tanya Darby, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steven Bernstein, and Adam O'Farrill; composer Jeff Beal, 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, Bill Berry, and others. Now under the tutelage of Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flutist who serves as the director of the Orchestra, the ensemble is dedicated to the study and performance of the most challenging big band literature available.
After obtaining a place in the Orchestra, members of this ensemble gather for one weekend in the summer to begin rehearsals in preparation for a domestic or international tour. Having received worldwide acclaim, tour performances for the Orchestra have included festivals and venues in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe, including:
- American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
- Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, San Diego, California
- Berklee Performance Center, Boston, Massachusetts
- Carmel Bach Festival, Carmel, California
- Centrum Jazz Festival, Port Townsend, Washington
- Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington
- Free Hills Jazz Festival, Nagoya, Japan
- Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
- Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York
- International Music Festival, Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Jazz at the Bistro, St. Louis, Missouri
- Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, New York
- The Jazz Showcase, Chicago, Illinois
- Jazz Standard, New York City, New York
- The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
- Kuchan Jazz Festival, Hokkaido, Japan
- Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, California
- Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto, Nanao, Japan
- Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Canada
- North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester, New York
- Sweet Rhythm, New York City, New York
- Tokyo TUC Jazz Club, Tokyo, Japan
- Tomisato Jazz Festival, Tomisato, Japan
- Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto, Canada
- Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Victoria International JazzFest, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Vitello’s Jazz Club, Los Angeles, California
- Yoshi's, San Francisco, California
The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra has been performing on the Arena Stage since 1971, and has been part of the Monterey tradition of presenting young musicians at the Festival. Many of jazz’s greatest stars have appeared with the band, including Louis Bellson, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Clark Terry, and many others.
In recent times the NGJO has performed with Regina Carter (2004); Branford Marsalis (2005); Kurt Elling (2006); Terence Blanchard (2007); Christian McBride (2008); Wynton Marsalis (2009); Dianne Reeves (2010); Joshua Redman (2011); Ambrose Akinmusire (2012); Joe Lovano (2013); Eric Harland (2014); Wynton Marsalis and Ted Nash (2015); Terri Lyne Carrington (2016); John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton (2017); Tia Fuller and Ingrid Jensen (2018); and Allison Miller and Derrick Hodge (2019).
In addition, the 2008 NGJO was the backing band for Maceo Parker, and in 2014, the NGJO was the backing band for Michael Feinstein's "The Sinatra Project."
Click on a year to find out more information about each Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.
More historical band information will be added soon.