Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

2014 Next Generation Jazz Orchetra at Cal State Monterey Bay, July 19, 2014. Photo © Cole Thompson.

As part of a continuing commitment to jazz education and the perpetuation and development of top-level jazz musicians and jazz performance, Monterey Jazz Festival proudly sponsors the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Created in 1971 as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education and selected through an application process during the Next Generation Jazz Festival each spring, former members of the Orchestra include pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, saxophonists Joshua Redman, Donny McCaslin, Mark Turner, Eric Marienthal, and Dave Koz; trombonist Andy Martin, trumpeters Gilbert Castellanos, 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, Bill Berry, and many more. Now under the tutelage of Mr. Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flautist 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, previous tour destinations for the Orchestra have included performances in festivals and various venues in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe. In 2008, the NGJO performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and in 2009, the NGJO performed eight gigs from Kansas City to Washington D.C. in a tour of the United States. In 2010, they performed in Canada and New York City, and in 2011, the Orchestra toured the West Coast. In 2012, the NGJO toured Japan. In 2012, the Orchestra performed in New York City, Boston, and Montreal.

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 more.

Each year, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra performs with the Festival's Artist-In-Residence. In recent times at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the NGJO has performed with GRAMMY Award-winning saxophonist, Branford Marsalis (2005); GRAMMY Award-winning jazz vocalist and DownBeat magazine’s Male Vocalist of the Year Kurt Elling (2006); GRAMMY Award-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard (2007); with Maceo Parker and with GRAMMY Award-winning bassist, Christian McBride (2008); multiple GRAMMY Award-winner and Pulitzer Prize recipient, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (2009); GRAMMY Award winner, vocalist Dianne Reeves (2010); Artist-In-Residence Joshua Redman, and special guests (and former band alumni) Benny Green and Donny McCaslin (2011); and with award-winning trumpeter and NGJO alumnus Ambrose Akinmusire (2012). In 2013, the Orchestra performed with GRAMMY-winning saxophonist, Joe Lovano, and in 2014, will perform with the Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence, Eric Harland.

2014 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Director: Mr. Paul Contos

Emery Mesich
, alto / Folsom High School, Folsom, CA
Immanuel Wilkins, alto / Upper Darby High School, Upper Darby, PA
Andy Arditi, tenor / Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, CA
Max Lesser, tenor / LA County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Henry Solomon, baritone** / Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI

Coleman Hughes
*** / Newark Academy, Livingston, NJ
Nicholas Lee / LA County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Kevin Jiang / Newark Academy, Livingston, NJ
Hanne Williams-Baron / Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts, SF, CA
Steven Robinson (bass) / Westlake High School, Westlake Village, CA

Michael Gutierrez
/ Buchanan High School, Clovis, CA
Andrew Stephens** / Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA
Anthony Hervey / Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Noah Halpern / Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Wallace Roney / Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ

Chris Fishman, piano / LA County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Daryl Johns, bass**** / Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ
Joseph Bell, guitar / Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ
Ashwin Prasanna, drums / Holmdel High School, Holmdel, NJ
Cameron MacIntosh, drums*** / Columbia High School, Maplewood, NJ
Lizzi Trumbore, vocals / Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego, CA

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

Read the biographies of the 2014 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members here.

Read the press release about the band!

2014 NGJO Summer Tour Dates:

07.19: Cal State Monterey Bay Summer Arts
07.20: Yoshi's San Francisco
07.21: Depart for Japan
07.26: Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto

07.29: Free Hills Jazz Festival, Nagoya
07.30: Tokyo TUC Jazz Club
08.02: Tomisato Jazz Festival
08.04: Return to United States