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Monterey Jazz All-Stars Bring Festival to Fans

The Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California, never fails to live up to its reputation as the "granddaddy of all jazz festivals." As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, those who couldn't attend its golden anniversary celebration last September now have a chance to hear one of that weekend's finest moments, courtesy of the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars.

Meet the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars: Trumpeter Terence Blanchard; saxophonist James Moody; vocalist Nnenna Freelon; bassist Derrick Hodge; drummer Kendrick Scott; and pianist and musical director Benny Green. Green first performed there as a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Star High School Band in 1978. A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, 82-year-old James Moody is the ensemble's elder statesman, making his first festival appearance with Dizzy Gillespie in 1962.

General Manager Tim Jackson, who has overseen the festival for the past 15 years, handpicked the All-Stars, and co-produced the band's debut album, Live At the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival.

With such standards as "Misty," the CD represents the first non-archival recording from Monterey Jazz Festival Records. In the past year, the label has released albums by some of the greatest names in jazz captured at their best at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Among them are Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughan.

In honor of the anniversary and in support of their album, The Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars recently embarked on an extensive U.S. tour.