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GRAMMY-Nominated Pianist Christian Sands Announced As Monterey Jazz Festival's 2020 Artist-in-Residence

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GRAMMY-Nominated Pianist Christian Sands Announced As Monterey Jazz Festival's 2020 Artist-in-Residence

The Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce that GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist, composer and educator Christian Sands has been announced as the Artist-in-Residence for the 63rd Monterey Jazz Festival in 2020.

At 30-years-old, Sands is currently one of the most in-demand pianists working in jazz. Over the course of his career Christian Sands has toured around the world as a bandleader and has appeared as a sideman on records by Christian McBride and Gregory Porter, among others. Sands has performed several times at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Christian McBride, as was a featured performer in Geri Allen's Erroll Garner Project at MJF58 in 2015. Since that performance he has been named creative ambassador to the Erroll Garner Jazz Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to Garner's legacy. In 2018 and 2019, he was the music director for the MJF on Tour 60th Anniversary Edition, which featured a top roster of diverse and international millennial talent, including Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Jamison Ross, and Yasushi Nakamura on 23 performances across the United States. Acting as an ambassador for the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Monterey region throughout 2020, Christian Sands' residency includes:

  • Acting as an adjudicator and leading two special clinics on Saturday, April 4 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, MJF's all-student band competition in downtown Monterey
  • Providing instruction and clinics to middle and high school students at MJF's Summer Jazz Camp, June 15-20
  • Performing in multiple projects throughout the 63rd Monterey Jazz Festival, September 25-27 on both the Arena and Grounds stages, including a guest appearance with MJF's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

"Christian is a bright light in the next generation of jazz pianists. We have worked together over the last several years as he was Musical Director of our 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour and we have presented his own ensembles as well as enjoyed his stint in Christian McBride's trio," said Tim Jackson, Monterey Jazz Festival Artistic Director. "I have found him to be a remarkable young man with eye towards the future while harboring an inner old soul. He is also a tremendous communicator and will be a perfect fit as our 2020 Artist-in-Residence. He will be an inspiration to our young students."

Sands grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. He began music classes at age four, started playing professionally at the age of 10, and received his Bachelor of Arts and master's degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. A protégé of Dr. Billy Taylor, Sands began a six-year association with bassist Christian McBride in 2009, touring jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. Sands has followed in Dr. Taylor's footsteps by encouraging, inspiring and advocating for the preservation and history of jazz, teaching young people as well as adult audiences. In 2015, he started the Jazz Kids of Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark; he also teaches at Jazz in July at UMASS Amherst, where he is an alumnus. This year will see the skillful composer and pianist release his third full-length album for Mack Avenue Music Group, due out this spring.


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