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photo of monterey jazz festival arena News | Concerts | Festivals
Monterey Jazz 2015: Three Nights, Two Days & Seven Stages

Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chris Botti, Trombone Shorty, Snarky Puppy and the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra with special guest Sheila E. are among the headliners at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival. This year's festival runs Friday, September 18 through Sunday, September 20.

One night shy of the 60th anniversary of its seminal debut, pianist Errol Garner's magnficent "Concert by the Sea" returns home to Monterey when the festival kicks off Friday night in the main performance arena. "Concert by the Sea," composed by Garner and performed by his trio in 1955, in nearby in Carmel, was one of numerous local jazz shows on the Monterey Peninsula produced by radio DJ and jazz impressario Jimmy Lyons in the mid-1950's before founding the Monterey Jazz festival in 1958.

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the original 1955 performance will be pianist Geri Allen's Erroll Garner Project, with the bandleader joined by fellow pianists Jason Moran and Christian Sands, along with Russell Malone on guitar, Darek Oles on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums. Friday's concert date — September 18, 2015 — also marks the 44th anniversary of Garner's only performance at the Monterey festival.

Barely allowing time for the stage to cool down, the "Concert by the Sea" performance will be followed by the Chick Corea Trio (with multiple Grammy-winning keyboardist Corea, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade), and "Jaco's World," an all-star tribute to the music of celebrated bassist, composer and Weather Report veteran Jaco Pastorius and featuring saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Bob Sheppard, drummers Peter Erskine and Alex Acuna, a trio of all-star bassists (Victor Bailey, Christian McBride, and Jaco's son, Felix Pastorius), and more performers TBA, all conducted by Grammy award-winner Vince Mendoza.

Multiple Grammy® award-winning keyboardist Chick Corea

Sure to be a SRO performance, this year's commissioned piece for the Monterey festival — a program begun in 1958 by festival founder Lyons, and re-introduced to festival audiences in 1994 by Lyons' successor, Tim Jackson — features Oakland-born trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who will premiere "The Forgotten Places" on Saturday night. Described by The New Yorker as "a thrilling young trumpeter and astute bandleader [with a] unique spark in his playing," Akinmusire will also perform a second set later in the evening with his quartet.

Trumpeter, composer and bandleader Marsalis serves as this year's festival Artist-In-Residence, performing with the LCJO on the main festival stage Saturday night, and holding court for three full sets Sunday night in the intimate Dizzy's Den. Marsalis will also join the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (directed by Paul Contos) on Sunday afternoon in the main arena. Also on tap for Saturday night on the main stage are Akinmusire's commissioned work and the Monterey Jazz Fesstival's "On Tour" band, featuring Raul Midón on vocals and guitar, Ravi Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, musical director Gerald Clayton on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Justin Brown on drums.

Sunday night's performances include a duet between pianist Corea and banjo innovator Béla Fleck, multiple Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, and a festival-closing set from celebrated trumpeter Chris Botti.

Blues takes the main stage Saturday afternoon, with the sensational festival favorite Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue headlining a line-up that also includes one of the most preeminent performers of the modern era — lead guitarist, fantastic organist, and first-rate vocalist — bluesman Lucky Peterson, and "The Southern Fireball," Nikki Hill, an old-school R&B/blues "shouter" who's been dropping jaws at concert after concert following the independent release of her debut album "Here’s Nikki Hill" in 2013.

On Sunday, the future of jazz comes front and center with the traditional afternoon performance of the festival's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, followed by the delightfully indescribable Texas instrumental "collective" Snarky Puppy. Finishing the afternoon with a sizzle, Latin jazz master Pete Escovedo celebrates his 80th birthday (Esovedo was born in Pittsburg, CA on July 13, 1935) with his Latin Jazz Orchestra featuring sons Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo, and special guest, percussionist (and daughter) Sheila E.

"Southern Fireball" and old-school R&B/blues "shouter" Nikki Hill

In addition to the Main Arena performances, a global array of musicians will be performing all weekend at several smaller stages around the fairgrounds site. Among this year's artists: perennial MJF favorite, trumpeter Terence Blanchard; the Monty Alexander Trio with John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton; the young French jazz singer and guitarist, Cyrille Aimée; Etienne Charles & Creold Soul; jazz vocalist Lizz Wright; guitarist David Gilmour and Energies of Change; saxophonist Dann Zinn's bass-less trio, featuring drummer Peter Erskine and guitarist Chris Robinson; the Michael O'Neill Quintet with vocalist Kenny Washington; and the "Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour" showcase featuring Blanchard, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, keyboardist Gerald Clayton, bassist Joe Sanders, drummer Justin Brown, and celebrated jazz/R&B singer Patti Austin.

Also performing around the grounds this year: the Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet; the Gypsy jazz-inspired NY trio, Musette Explosion; 78-year-old Cuban master vocalist Ernesto Oviedo with the John Santos Sextet; veteran bluesman Lucky Peterson; "Crossing Borders" featuring Canadian jazz singer and pianist Jennifer Scott and Bay Area-based saxophonist Kristen Strom; singer, guitarist and songwriter Allan Harris and his latest project, "Black Bar Jukebox"; the Berklee College of Music's Global Jazz Institute band; trumpeter and composer Theo Croker; and the rock-meets-chamber music quintet Kneebody.

All told, the festival features 500 artists, nearly 100 performances and events on eight stages and more, for 30 hours of live music over two days and three nights, along with food booths, shopping, art exhibits, educational events, seminars and conversations with iconic and emerging jazz artists all around the oak-studded, 20-acre Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center.

For more information, or to purchase tickets for the 58th annual Monterey Jazz Festival, please call 888.248.6499 or visit the Monterey Jazz Festival website.

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