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46th Annual Next Generation Jazz Festival Set for 4/8-10

The 46th Annual Next Generation Jazz Festival Presented by Monterey Jazz Festival takes place April 8-10 2016, at the Monterey Conference Center Pavilion and other downtown locations. The weekend-long event includes big bands, combos, vocal ensembles, and individual musicians vying for a spot on the stages of the 59th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Sponsored by the City of Monterey, the event is open to the public, free of charge.

With more than 1200 students participating in the Next Generation Jazz Festival, the public can enjoy the largest gathering of young jazz talent in Northern California, outside of the Monterey Jazz Festival itself. In 2016, 63 groups from 11 states and British Columbia are finalists in the adjudicated categories. Click here for a list of finalists.

Finalists from California are represented by 41 ensembles from 13 counties-including Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, Marin, Merced, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.

Other areas of North America for the finalists include Arizona, British Columbia, Canada; Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington State.

In addition, 26 special guest groups are from California, Massachusetts, Japan, and Washington State.
Altogether, 89 bands are scheduled to perform at the 46th Next Generation Jazz Festival.

"We are thrilled once again to be hosting one of the nation's premier jazz education events," said Paul Contos, Monterey Jazz Festival education director. "The excitement is unmistakable, and the roster of name artists, exemplary school ensembles, and workshops signifies an astounding array of musical talent."

The Next Generation Jazz Festival officially starts with the annual Opening Night Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8 at the Monterey Conference Center Pavilion, located in Custom House Plaza. The show features performances by the Festival's team of internationally-renowned artists and competition judges, including the three-time GRAMMY Award-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington. Also featured will be trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos; saxophonists Joel Frahm and Tia Fuller; trombonist Luis Bonilla; pianists Helen Sung; guitarist Bruce Forman; bassist Ray Drummond; baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, and vocalist James Tormé. Opening the concert at 7 p.m. is the Josh Shpak Quartet from Berklee College of Music.

Immediately after the Opening Night Judges Concert, there will be a VIP Benefit Reception in the De Anza Ballroom in the Monterey Conference Center. Tickets for this special reception are $50, and are available by calling 831.233.3715 or by visiting

VIP Benefit Reception tickets include reserved seating in the front rows of the Monterey Conference Center Pavilion and the reception with the performers, Monterey Jazz Festival judges, and adjudicators. Seating in the temporary Monterey Conference Center Pavilion is limited. Reserved seats are only available with the VIP Benefit Reception ticket.

Because of the continuing renovation of the Monterey Conference Center, music will be performed at the temporary Monterey Conference Center Pavilion on Custom House Plaza, the Portola Hotel, the Marriott Hotel, Museum of Monterey, and Turn 12 Bar and Grill.

The Next Generation Jazz Festival will also continue its Jazz Expo, allowing students an opportunity to visit with several colleges and organizations offering jazz and other music programs. For a complete schedule of activities and competition times, visit

The High School Competition begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, in the Monterey Conference Center Pavilion and other locations in downtown Monterey. Throughout the day, the high school groups will perform, with educational clinics and performances featuring Joel Frahm; 3-time GRAMMY winner Terri Lyne Carrington; and 6-time GRAMMY winner, Vince Mendoza. College Combos will also compete from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The top groups from the High School Vocal, Combo, and Big Band divisions will be announced at 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening from the Pavilion stage, with a Showcase concert at 8:30 p.m. The final rankings of the High School and College Combo Divisions will be announced at the end of the evening.

The Next Generation Jazz Festival continues on Sunday, April 10, with Middle School, College Big Band, High School Conglomerate Big Band and Combos, and College Vocal Ensemble Divisions. The top selected competition ensembles will also earn a performance slot at the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival. Auditions will also be held for the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Monterey Jazz Festival's national all-star high school band.

Introduced in 1971 as the California High School Jazz Band Competition by Monterey Jazz Festival Founder Jimmy Lyons, the competition was conceived as a way to bring talented student groups to Monterey, and to cultivate musicians for the future. Notable participants of the Jazz Competition and Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members (formally the California High School All-Star Band) include saxophonists Joshua Redman, Dave Koz, Mark Turner, and Donny McCaslin; pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen; multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum; bassist Larry Grenadier, and many others.

The 2016 Next Generation Jazz Festival is sponsored by the City of Monterey, and Partners include Alvarez Technology Group, Inc.; AT&T, Gallien-Krueger, Inns of Monterey, Japanese American Citizens League-Salinas Valley Chapter; McGraw-Hill Education, Museum of Monterey, Remo Drumheads, Scheid Family Wines, Yamaha Drums, Yamaha Pianos, and Zildjian Cymbals. Supporters include York School, ACTION Council of Monterey County, Community Foundation for Monterey County, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Harden Foundation, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Services, Pacific Grove Rotary Club, Carmel Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Monterey, Yellow Brick Road Foundation, and the Upjohn California Fund.

Sponsorship opportunities, program advertising information, and more details on the 2016 Next Generation Jazz Festival can be seen by visiting or by calling 831.373.3366.

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