Jazz festival season is upon us. Hundreds of outdoor festivals will take place throughout the USA all summer long. One of the country's most popular is the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California, where 500 or more artists are scheduled to appear in late-September. For those who can't wait there's a new CD containing some of the best-ever Monterey Jazz performances.
It's not quite like being there, but having a dozen vintage tunes from this world-famous jazz festival at the push of a button might be the next best thing.
At the 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival Duke Ellington introduced trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie as "one of the great symbols of the sound, an 'Emperor of the Realm of the Horn.'" Dizzy, hitting all the high notes on this performance of "Two Bass Hit" with the Buddy Rich Orchestra, was probably the most cherished of all Monterey Jazz stars.
The "James Joyce of Jive", Jon Hendricks with Cole Porter's "All of You" recorded at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966. Monterey has been very good to Hendricks. It's where he premiered his groundbreaking epic play "Evolution of the Blues."
Monterey Jazz debuted in 1958. The earliest jazz festival actually began in Newport, Rhode Island, four years earlier. But because Newport missed a few years, Monterey is considered the world's longest-running jazz festival. And with names like Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan, Monterey became the destination for serious jazz lovers.
The Jimmy Giuffre Three performs "Doxie", featuring Jimmy Giuffre on tenor saxophone, Jim Hall on guitar and Bob Brookmeyer on trombone. That comes from a rare October performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958.
Tenor saxman Johnny Griffin appeared on Monterey's main stage 20 years later with "The Jampfs Are Coming," recorded September 17, 1978.
Under the direction of current General Manager Tim Jackson, the Monterey Jazz Festival continues to expand its horizons. This year, fans can expect the usual offering of new and established acts, as well as a special 75th birthday tribute to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
In addition, the Dave Holland Big Band will premier a new work commissioned by the festival; the California High School Jazz Competition will mark its 30th year at Monterey; and it all wraps up with a set by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Wynton Marsalis.
Proceeds from the sale of the new CD "Monterey Jazz" will be donated to the Monterey Jazz Festival's jazz education program.