Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Orchestra

Wed Jun 28 12:00pm
Ticket Price: 
Free Admission
Ticket Information: 

As part of a continuing commitment to jazz education and the perpetuation and development of top-level jazz musicians and jazz performance, the Monterey Jazz Festival proudly sponsors the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Formerly known as the MJF High School All-Star Big Band (from 1971-2004), the NGJO represents the future generation of jazz stars through a program that selects the best and brightest high school jazz musicians in the country. Former members of the ensemble include pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, saxophonists Joshua Redman, Eric Marienthal, Dave Koz, trombonist Andy Martin, and big band leader Gordon Goodwin to name a few. In the past, the band has been under the leadership of Ladd McIntosh, Don Schramber, Benny Golson, Bill Berry, and many more.

Now under the tutelage of Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flautist who serves as the director of the Orchestra, the ensemble is dedicated to the study and performance of the most challenging big band literature available. Orchestra members are selected through a rigorous audition process that includes review by a national panel of judges comprised of professional jazz musician/educators. After obtaining a place in the Orchestra, members of this ensemble gather for one weekend in the summer to begin rehearsals in preparation for a domestic or international tour. Having received worldwide acclaim, previous tour destinations for the Orchestra have included performances in festivals and various venues in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe. In 2008, the NGJO performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and in 2009, the NGJO performed eight gigs from Kansas City to Washington D.C. in a tour of the United States.

The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra has been performing on the Arena Stage since 1971, and has been part of the Monterey tradition of presenting young musicians at the Festival. Many of jazz’s stars have appeared with the band, including Louis Bellson, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Clark Terry, and many more. In recent years, at MJF/47 in 2004, the ensemble shared the Jimmy Lyons Stage with violinist Regina Carter, trumpeter Jon Faddis, and saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman.

In recent times, at MJF/48 in 2005, the NGJO performed with the MJF Artist-In-Residence and Grammy Award winning saxophonist, Branford Marsalis. At the MJF/49 in 2006, the ensemble appeared with Artist-In-Residence Kurt Elling, the world renowned jazz vocalist and DownBeat magazine’s Male Vocalist of the Year. At MJF/50 in 2007, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra performed with Artist-In-Residence and Grammy Award winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard, and at MJF/51 in 2008, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra performed with Maceo Parker and with Artist-In-Residence and Grammy Award winning bassist, Christian McBride. In 2009, they performed with MJF/52 Artist-In-Residence, the multiple Grammy-award winner and Pulitzer Prize recipient, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. In 2010, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will share the stage with 2010 MJF Artist-In-Residence, Dianne Reeves.

Also at the 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival, several members of previous bands are appearing on the stages of Monterey -- including Pascal and Remy Le Boeuf, Ben Flocks, and Hailey Niswanger.

Major funding for the Monterey Jazz Festival's Education Programs comes from a three-year grant from the Surdna Foundation, supporting the Next Generation Festival and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra's international and domestic tours. The Surdna Foundation's Arts Program is national in scope and supports the artistic advancement of teens, ages 12-18.

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