61st Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Wraps up Weekend of Diverse Performances

…socially and demographically, Monterey delivered something truly new, and it was glorious to behold. It wasn’t so much the profusion of stellar women players as the fecund diversity in visions of bandleaders, composers, and arrangers.” –San Francisco Classical Voice

More than 50 percent of the Monterey festival program this year boasted women leaders or side players.” –Seattle Times

“There were enough noteworthy features at Monterey this year to fill at least two JazzTimes 10 lists…” –JazzTimes

“To say there were exceptional moments is an understatement. Dianne Reeves pulled out all the stops, Charles Lloyd and group delighted, Oscar Hernandez and Spanish Harlem Orchestra wowed, Fred Hersch was sublime, Bill Frisell a wonder. I can’t say enough about the overall vibe of joy and discovery that took place this last weekend.” –Monterey County Herald

“At the Monterey Jazz Festival, there is no need for debate. For more than 60 years, it’s simply been about music that moves people.” –Monterey County Weekly

“The bundle of talent in [Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour] is extraordinary...It may be a stretch to say that jazz’s salvation lies with an international young group like this, but what a role model it is.” –Classical Voice North America

“Festival veteran Dianne Reeves—MJF’s jazz legend award winner this year—swept away the audience with her Sept. 21 opening-night spotlight at the big stage.” -–DownBeat

“…an embarrassment of riches.” –All About Jazz

One of the most dynamic aspects of the festival was the presence of young students who will carry on the tradition. The MJF's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, considered by some the best high school all-star jazz big band in America, wowed a Sunday Arena crowd.” –Monterey County Weekly

“If one ever has doubts about the health of the current modern jazz scene, a visit to the Monterey Jazz Festival is the perfect antidote.” –New York Jazz Record

It was quite a festival, leaving one with the feeling that not only are there an unlimited number of talented female jazz artists but that the artistic state of the current jazz scene is very healthy.” –LA Jazz Scene


Monterey, Calif.; October 21, 2018; The 61st annual Monterey Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday, September 23. Over 37,541 fans came through the gates of the Monterey County Fairgrounds during the weekend, which featured 131 performances and events. The Festival featured diverse styles of music from around the globe, gender equity, exciting tributes and debut artists, mixed with conversations, films, and exhibits.

Musical Highlights: Friday
The Festival began on Friday, September 21 with a cutting edge and heartfelt tribute to Geri Allen, featuring MJF’s Artists-in Residence, Tia Fuller and Ingrid Jensen. NEA Jazz Master and MJF Showcase Artist Dianne Reeves gave a commanding performance next, followed by the frequently humorous Spaces by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, which featured the sublime dancing of Lil Buck, Jared Grimes and Ron Myles.

On the Grounds, many groups welcomed the crowds: Hristo Vitchev, Tammy Hall’s Peace-tet and the Anistassia Petrova Organ Quartet on the Garden Stage; Jane Bunnett & Maqueque and the Christian McBride-Benny Green-Gregory Hutchinson trio in Dizzy’s Den; Adam Rogers & Dice, Knower and Cameron Graves in the Night Club; and Liza Mezzacappa, Jane Ira Bloom and Thumbscrew in the Pacific Jazz Café.

Musical Highlights: Saturday
Saturday’s diverse Arena shows began with sets from blues singer Thornetta Davis and José James celebrating Bill Withers, who repeated their performances at the Garden Stage later in the afternoon. Oscar Hernández & the Spanish Harlem Orchestra with special guest Hubert Laws debuted MJF’s first salsa commission piece, a wide musical representation of Latin music.

In the evening, the debut of 2019 version of the MJF on Tour made their debut featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Christian Sands, Jamison Ross, and Yasushi Nakamura, to critical acclaim. Remembering Ray Brown with Christian McBride, Benny Green, and Greg Hutchinson payed homage to their mentor, with a recreation of Superbass with John Clayton, McBride, and John Patitucci. Jon Batiste with the Dap-Kings capped off the evening with an eclectic set that brought the arena audience to their feet.

Standout performances from Saturday’s 47 Grounds shows include the Jamie Baum Septet, Dave GrusinNo BS! Brass Band, Donny McCaslin Group, Ingrid & Christine Jensen’s Infinitude, Fred Hersch’s magical solo, duo (with Jane Ira Bloom) and trio shows; and The Baylor Project.

Musical Highlights: Sunday
Sunday’s 53 shows began with youthful start with the 2018 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra with Artists-in-Residence, Tia Fuller and Ingrid Jensen. Bokante and Charles Lloyd and the Marvels presented opposite sides of the jazz world, in two back-to-back sets.

The evening’s Arena performances were kicked off by high energy shows from the Anat Cohen Tentet, and an inspiring celebration of the late saxophonist Michael Brecker with Randy Brecker, Donny McCaslin, Gil Goldstein, Adam Rogers, John Patitucci, and Antonio Sanchez. Norah Jones with Brian Blade and Christopher Thomas closed out Sunday night with a serene and crowd-pleasing show in her MJF debut.

Standout performances from Sunday’s 46 Grounds shows included the debut of Dianne Reeves & Beleza Brazil, Wadada Leo Smith’s beautiful multi-media presentation of America’s National Parks, the Katie Thiroux Trio, Ladama, Veronica Swift, Julian Lage, and Bill Frisell; the legendary Jazz Organ Blowout with Joey DeFrancesco & the People, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, and Bobby Floyd. The Pacific Jaz Café hosted the DownBeat Blindfold Test with John Clayton, the “Women in Jazz Part II” panel, and a discussion of the legacy of Michael Brecker.

Energetic winning bands from the 2018 Next Generation Jazz Festival performed in the Night Club along with the Festival’s own honor ensembles.

All weekend long, Addison Frei performed on the Yamaha AvantGrand on the Courtyard Stage, while the Blue Note at Sea Tent was the site of gatherings and artist conversations Don Was with Christian McBride, Benny Green, Wynton Marsalis, Charles Lloyd, and many others. The Pacific Jazz Café exhibit displayed The Color of Jazz: Album cover photographs by Pete Turner. An expanded lineup of 17 events took place on the greatly enlarged North Coast Brewing Company Jazz Education Stage from student groups, ranging from the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, school combos and alumni, to student jam sessions.

The Jazz Theater also showed simulcasts of the Arena performances, as well as screenings of the documentaries Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time and Two Trains Runnin’.

2018 Partners Help Support Jazz Education
The North Coast Brewing Company, celebrating their 13th year as Official Monterey Jazz Festival beers, hosted the enlarged North Coast Brewing Jazz Education Stage for the fourth year in a row. District 7 were the Official Wines of Monterey Jazz Festival. DownBeat, Blue Microphones, Blue Note at Sea, Larabar, Macy’s, Montage Health, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Boulder Chips and others hosted tents on the Grounds. In support of bringing music education and instruments to everyone, Yamaha hosted the Yamaha Experience Tent all weekend and the popular Instrument Petting Zoo featured during Sunday's Family Day.

The announcement of the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival artists will be made in spring 2019, when tickets will be available for purchase.

The 62nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival will take place on the Monterey County Fairgrounds in September 2019, with more than 500 artists performing on 8 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of the world's best jazz.

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.


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

Monterey Jazz Festival is honored to receive support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Scheid Family Wines,  North Coast Brewing Company, Blue Note at Sea, Yamaha, NEA Artworks, Inns of Monterey, Taylor Farms, Blue Microphones, Macy's, Medcom Solutions, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Montage Health, Naturipe, Larabar, Boulder Canyon Foods, Integris Wealth Management, Alvarez Technology, KSBW/Estrella TV, KAZU, DownBeat, JazzTimes, SmoothJazz.com Global, Monterey Herald, Remo, Mission Linen Supply, and Driscoll's.