Monterey Jazz Festival to host top young jazz musicians and vocalists

The Monterey Jazz Festival, a leader in jazz education since its inception in 1958 and winner of the 2006 JazzTimes Readers’ Poll for Best Festival, has announced the 3rd Annual Next Generation Festival, scheduled for March 22-25, 2007 in downtown Monterey.

The weekend event, devoted to the future of jazz, includes the Festival’s 37th Annual National High School Jazz Competition, with big bands, combos, vocal ensembles and individual musicians vying for a spot on the stages of the 50th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon. All Next Generation Festival competition activities are open to the public, free of charge.

Attracting musicians from some of the most prestigious educational programs in the country, MJF’S Next Generation Festival represents the largest gathering of young jazz talent on the Monterey Peninsula, outside of the Monterey Jazz Festival itself. Over forty groups from ten states, from Alaska to Connecticut, will participate in the prestigious event.

The NGF weekend starts with a Kick-Off Concert in downtown Monterey’s historic Golden State Theatre, featuring the judges from MJF’s National High School Jazz Competition and Grammy Award winner/2007 MJF Artist-In-Residence Terence Blanchard.  Blanchard will also appear in a special pre-festival concert with his quintet on Thursday, March 22nd, also in the Golden State Theatre.

The Next Generation Festival will officially start at 7:00 pm on Friday, March 23rd. The opening night’s activities will feature the Festival’s annual Salute to Jazz Education, along with performances by the Competition judges, Terence Blanchard, the MJF County All-Star High School Band, MJF Middle School Honor Band, and MJF Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

The MJF’s National High School Jazz Competition starts at 9:00 am on Saturday March 24th in downtown Monterey’s Conference Center, with high-energy big bands, combos and vocal ensembles filling the air with musical fireworks. Throughout the day, participants in the High School Big Band, Vocal and Combo divisions will battle it out to determine the finalists, with the winners of the Vocal and Combo divisions announced in the early evening on the Conference Center’s Serra Ballroom stage. Three Big Band finalists will take the stage starting at 8:00 pm, competing for the Competition’s top prize, a spot on the Arena/Lyons Stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 50th celebration in September.

The Next Generation Festival continues through Sunday, March 25th, with the country’s top middle school and college big bands performing in the Conference Center’s Steinbeck Forum. The winning college big band will also earn a performance slot at the Festival.

The weekend will host a variety of clinics throughout Saturday, including sessions with Terence Blanchard (“Tips from Terence”), Ron Westray (“Brass Section Master Class”), and vocalist Randy Crenshaw (“How to Practice with Jazz Recordings”). 

Auditions will be held throughout the Next Generation Festival weekend for the Jimmy Lyons Scholarships to Berklee College of Music, and for the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Festival’s national all-star high school band.  

The 3rd Annual Next Generation Festival will welcome new partners M-Audio, Sibelius Software, and Borders.  M-Audio and Sibelius will offer demonstrations of their innovative, industry-leading products throughout the weekend in the heart of the Conference Center lobby. Both pioneering companies share the Monterey Jazz Festival’s dedication to music education, with M-Audio and Sibelius products enabling student and professional musicians alike the ability to create, record, mix, and publish music.

Borders will also be front and center in the Conference Center lobby, the hub of NGF activities. Like the Monterey Jazz Festival, Borders is dedicated to enriching lives through knowledge and entertainment. Participants and attendees are invited to visit Borders at the Next Generation Festival to learn more about their Educator Savings program and special coupon for Next Generation Festival attendee’s only, redeemable at all Borders locations.

M-Audio, Sibelius, and Borders join long standing Next Generation Festival partners JazzTimes Magazine, distributing free copies of their prestigious publication at the Next Generation Festival; J. D’Addario & Company, offering reeds, strings, and other complimentary products to participants; and longtime MJF partner Yamaha, providing instruments for Next Generation Festival stages. Support for Next Generation Festival comes from the Community Foundation for Monterey County’s Communities Advocating the Arts Fund; from The D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts with support from J. D’Addario & Company, Inc., D’Addario Strings, Evans Drumheads, Planet Waves Accessories, and Rico Reeds; and from contributors Frank & Kathleen Geisler, Renée Mayne and JRB Insurance Services.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.