'Concert for Kids' Kicks Off 58th Monterey Jazz Festival Today

Monterey Jazz Festival kicks off the weekend's activities this Thursday with another edition of the "Concert for Kids" at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, with Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra performing a free 45-minute set for students enrolled in Monterey County public schools. The concert will start at 11am today, September 17 at the Garden Stage Presented by HepcHope.com at the Monterey Fairgrounds.

The pre-festival "Concert for Kids" has been a tradition at the Monterey Jazz Festival for 25 years, inviting students from Monterey County middle and high schools to the free event every year, with an estimated 500 students attending annually to see the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. The concert is part of an outreach effort by Monterey Jazz Festival to bring jazz music, for free, to the students of Monterey County.

Created as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education, members of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra were selected through an application and audition process during the Next Generation Jazz Festival each spring.

Twenty-one high school musicians from seven states comprise the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, including California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Five members of the orchestra are returning, including alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins (Upper Darby High School, Drexel Hill, PA); trombonist Nicholas Lee (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA); trumpeter Anthony Hervey (Dillard Center for the Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL); pianist Chris Fishman (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA); and guitarist Joseph Bell (Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ). Read the 2015 NGJO biographies here.

The Orchestra performs on the Jimmy Lyons Stage at the 58th Monterey Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 20 at 12:30 p.m. on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena with 2015 Artist-In-Residence, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Wynton Marsalis and Ted Nash.

In the past, the band has been under the leadership of Ladd McIntosh, Don Schamber, Benny Golson, Bill Berry, and more. Now under the tutelage of Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flutist 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. Former members include pianist Patrice Rushen and Benny Green, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire and Dominick Farinacci; saxophonists Eric Marienthal, Donny McCaslin, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, and Dave Koz; trombonist Andy Martin; and big band leader Gordon Goodwin.

Monterey Jazz Festival invests over $500,000 annually in its education programs which includes jazz clinics in schools, a Summer Jazz Camp, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and more.

Matt Wong Wins Gerald Wilson Award


The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will also play "Against the Current" by San Francisco pianist Matt Wong, who wins the 2015 Gerald Wilson Award for the winning piece from the Next Generation Jazz Festival's composition competition. Mr. Wong is Matt is the first double-winner of the Gerald Wilson Award, his previous submission, "Prima Luce," won the competition in 2014. Born and raised in San Francisco, Mr. Wong, 17, is a graduate of Independence High School, and his compositions and arrangements for big band orchestra, and smaller ensembles have been performed by the Realistic Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, SFJAZZ High School All- Stars, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Berklee Rainbow Band, and Jazzschool Studio Band.

Matt has performed in a variety of Bay Area venues including the SFJAZZ Center, Yoshi's Oakland, Davies Symphony Hall, the Great American Music Hall, Stanford University's Bing Center in Palo Alto, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. He has also performed at the Vienne Jazz Festival in France, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Umbria Jazz Festival Italy, the Blue Note in New York City, Jazz Alley in Seattle, and the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania.

Matt's most recent accomplishments include 2015 DownBeat Student Music Awards for Jazz Instrumental Soloist, Original Composition - Small Ensemble and Large Ensemble and Jazz Arrangement, and was a member of three winning ensembles; 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest Winner; 2015 Berklee Herb Pomeroy Jazz Composition and Arranging Contest; 2015 YoungArts Finalist; the 2014 and 2015 Gerald Wilson Awards from the Monterey Jazz Festival; 2014 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Awards and membership in the 2014 GRAMMY Jazz Combo (piano/keyboards).<


San Bernardino County Trumpeter Jeremy Alvarez is 2015 Jimmy Lyons Scholarship Recipient to Berklee College of Music


Berklee College of Music and Monterey Jazz Festival announce that trumpeter Jeremy Alvarez, 17, from Upland, California, is the 19th recipient of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, a major music education prize at Berklee College of Music. The scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition award presented in conjunction with the Monterey Jazz Festival. He begins his studies toward a Berklee degree in music performance in September 2015. Alvarez is also a member of the 2015 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

The Lyons Scholarship is awarded each year to one music student from the Western United States, in recognition of their outstanding talent. Because it is a full-tuition, renewable award, satisfactory academic and musical progress in each successive year will allow each Lyons Scholar to attend Berklee through graduation, entirely tuition-free.

Previous Lyons Scholars include saxophonist Dayna Stephens, pianist Milton Fletcher, cellist Rushad Eggleston, drummers James Williams and Jonathan Pinson, and violinist Alex Hargreaves, among others.

Monterey Jazz Festival Trustee Carsbia Anderson, chair of the Festival's Education Committee will make the Jimmy Lyons presentation to Jeremy Alvarez at the festival on Sunday, September 20, at 1:30 p.m., on the Jimmy Lyons Stage.

Jeremy has been recognized repeatedly throughout California's jazz community. Selected as a member of the 2015 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Jeremy will perform with the Orchestra at the Monterey Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 20 on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena at 12:30pm. He will also sit in with his new schoolmates in the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors on each of their festival sets: Friday, September 18 at 6:30pm on the Garden Stage Presented by HepcHope.com, and Saturday, September 19 at 5:15pm in the Coffee House Gallery.

Jeremy has had the great honor of playing with trumpet master Arturo Sandoval on three occasions to date, including being featured with Sandoval twice and playing lead trumpet in the Arturo Sandoval Institute All-Star Band. He has also been featured with Allen Vizzutti at the 2014 Western States Jazz Festival, and with the Tom Kubis Big|Brave Band as a spotlight performer.

Jeremy has participated in the San Bernardino County Honor Band for the last four years, as well as the 2015 All-Southern and All-State Honor Jazz Ensembles. He has been awarded the nationally-recognized Louis Armstrong Jazz Award; most outstanding musician awards at the Riverside City College Jazz Festival (2014 and 2015) and the most outstanding musician award at the 2015 Irvine Jazz Festival.