The Monterey Jazz Festival has announced its annual Next Generation Jazz Festival, April 1 - 3, 2011 in downtown Monterey.
The weekend-long event, devoted to the future of jazz, includes the Next Generation Jazz Festival Jazz Competition with Big Bands, Combos, Vocal Ensembles, and individual musicians vying for a spot on the stages of the 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. The event will be open to the public, free of charge.
With over 1200 students participating in the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey Peninsula residents are in a unique position to enjoy the largest gathering of young jazz talent in the region, outside of the Monterey Jazz Festival itself. Sixty-four groups from ten states will participate in the 2011 event, which marks the Festival's 40th anniversary of the birth of its Annual Jazz Competition.
Introduced in 1971 as the California High School Jazz Band Competition by Monterey Jazz Festival Founder Jimmy Lyons, the competition was conceived as a way of as a way of bringing talented student musicians and groups to Monterey, and cultivating musicians for the future. Notable participants of the Jazz Competition and Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members (formally the California High School All-Star Band) include saxophonists Joshua Redman, Dave Koz and Dave Ellis, pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, bassist Larry Grenadier, and many more. 2011 Next Generation Jazz Festival judges trombonist Andy Martin, saxophonists Mary Fettig and Joshua Redman, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire are alumni of the Festival's education programs, coming through the California High School All-Star Band in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
California, one of the strongholds of music education, has schools from 15 counties represented in the 2011 festival – including Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, Marin, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Yolo Counties.
In addition, the Next Generation Jazz Festival will present special guest groups from Alaska, California, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan throughout the weekend.
The Next Generation Jazz Festival officially starts with the annual Opening Night Concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 1, at the Monterey Conference Center. The opening night's activities will feature the Festival's annual Salute to Jazz Education hosted by local radio personality, Barry Brown of KWAV-FM, along with performances by the internationally-renowned competition judges, including pianist Alan Pasqua, drummer Peter Erskine, saxophonists Antonio Hart, Paul Contos, Mary Fettig, and Aaron Lington; trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire and Sal Cracchiolo; bassist Ray Drummond, and vocalists Jennifer Barnes and Michele Weir. Also featured during the evening concert will be the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence, two-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Joshua Redman.