Monterey Jazz Festival to Tour in 2016

Monterey Jazz Festival, world-renowned for its artistic excellence, sophisticated informality, and longstanding mission to create and support year-round jazz education and performance programs in local, regional, national, and international venues, continues this commitment in 2016 with its fourth North American Tour, featuring critically-acclaimed, GRAMMY-winning jazz artists.

The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 2016 features Raul Midón on guitar and vocals; Ravi Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones; Nicholas Payton on trumpet; musical director Gerald Clayton on piano; Joe Sanders on bass; with Gregory Hutchinson (January and February dates) and Kendrick Scott (March dates) on drums, and will perform 28 shows beginning at UC Santa Barbara, Calif., and will make stops in 17 cities in 10 states from January 14 - March 13, 2016.

Highlights of the tour include a five-night run at Birdland in New York City, with appearances at major performing arts centers and colleges in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Information about tour dates and times are available on Each of the shows will feature an assortment of classic jazz repertoire and original compositions by band members. Press photos can be downloaded here.

Members of Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 2016 have deep relationships with Monterey Jazz Festival and have a commitment to the cultivation of jazz audiences worldwide. Raul Midón has appeared at Monterey three times, in 2009, 2011 and 2015. Ravi Coltrane first appeared at Monterey in 2001, nearly 41 years to the day after his own father, John Coltrane, made his debut at Monterey in 1960. Ravi also appeared at the Festival in 2013 and 2015. Nicholas Payton was the Festival's Artist-In-Residence in 2000, and appeared again in 2015. Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, Gregory Hutchinson and Kendrick Scott, some of the rising stars in the jazz world, have been recent performers on Monterey stages, both at the Monterey Jazz Festival itself, and as high school students at the Festival's 45-year old student competition, the Next Generation Jazz Festival.

Clayton, a scholarship and soloist award winner at Monterey's 2000 and 2001 springtime Next Generation Jazz Festival with the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, made trio appearances at MJF in 2010 and 2012 with Joe Sanders, and recently performed in 2014 in duo with Charles Lloyd.

Gregory Hutchinson and Kendrick Scott split the drum position on the tour: Hutchinson plays the January and February dates, and Scott plays the March dates. Both drummers have a long history with the Festival: Hutchinson's first of three appearances at MJF was in 1992, and Kendrick Scott, a three-time Berklee/Monterey group drummer from 1999-2003, has played at MJF nine times. Scott also was the drummer with MJF's 50th Anniversary All-Stars on the 54-date tour in 2008, and performed on Terence Blanchard's GRAMMY-winning recording with the band.

"MJF on Tour in 2016 is our fourth national tour since our 50th Anniversary Tour in 2008," said Tim Jackson, artistic director of Monterey Jazz Festival. "It's a great way to spread the gospel of the Monterey Jazz Festival throughout the land! Our 2016 tour looks to be one our best, and without a doubt, will deliver incredible music by some of today's finest jazz artists."

"As a tour producer, I always strive to offer highly artistic yet compelling and entertaining presentations," said Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment. "The audience's reaction at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival proves we have succeeded with this band."

The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival has presented nearly every major jazz star-from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong to Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty-since it was founded in 1958.

All-Star bands at Monterey have been a long-standing tradition at the Monterey Jazz Festival since 1966. Previous Monterey Jazz Festival tours have crisscrossed the United States. In 2008, the 50th Anniversary All-Star Band made a 54-date tour across 22 states to over 43,000 fans, and featured four-time GRAMMY winner Terence Blanchard on trumpet; the late GRAMMY winner James Moody on saxophone; musical director Benny Green on piano; Derrick Hodge on bass; Kendrick Scott on drums, and five-time GRAMMY nominee, vocalist Nnenna Freelon.

In 2010, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour played 34 dates through 17 states to 26,000 fans, and featured the nine-time GRAMMY-nominated and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron on piano; GRAMMY-nominated violinist Regina Carter; GRAMMY-winning guitarist Russell Malone; GRAMMY-winning vocalist Kurt Elling; bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa; and GRAMMY-nominated drummer Johnathan Blake.

In 2013, 35,000 fans saw the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 55th Anniversary Celebration across the country in 40 cities in 23 states across the United States, Canada, and Washington D.C., and featured three-time GRAMMY winners vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and bassist and musical director Christian McBride; pianist Benny Green, GRAMMY-winners drummer Lewis Nash and saxophonist Chris Potter; and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

About Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 2016

Ravi Coltrane - tenor saxophone
Ravi Coltrane is a critically-acclaimed GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. In the course of a 20-plus year career, Mr. Coltrane has worked as a sideman to many, and recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others. Born on Long Island, he is the second son of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane. Ravi has released six albums as a leader, including Spirit Fiction, released in 2012 on Blue Note. Additional credits include performances as well as recordings with Elvin Jones, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Barron, Steve Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Geri Allen, Joanne Brackeen, and the Blue Note 7, among others. He is a co-leader of the Saxophone Summit with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. He leads the effort to restore the John Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, Long Island, and presides over important reissues of his parents' recordings.

Raul Midón - guitar, vocals

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón has earned renown as one of music's most distinctive and searching voices. He is "a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus," according to the New York Times. Midón has collaborated with such heroes as Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, along with contributing to recordings by Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg and the soundtrack to Spike Lee's She Hate Me. The New Mexico native, blind since birth, has released seven albums since 1999, including the hit studio productions State of Mind (Manhattan/EMI, 2005), A World Within a World (Manhattan/EMI, 2007) and Synthesis (Decca/Universal, 2009). Midón's most recent release is the captivating CD/DVD Invisible Chains - Live from NYC.

Midón can be seen in the documentary on Herbie Hancock's star-studded album Possibilities, and he is featured collaborating with soul icon Bill Withers in the documentary Still Bill. Midón has also demonstrated his progressive techniques by performing for the series of TED Talks. His new album, Don't Hesitate, has the singer-guitarist adding producer-engineer to his portfolio of talents, and includes collaborations with Withers, R&B singer-songwriter Lizz Wright, Cameroonian jazz bassist Richard Bona and GRAMMY-winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves.

Nicholas Payton - trumpet

Multi-instrumentalist and trumpet master Nicholas Payton was born in New Orleans, and was a member of the All-Star Brass Band by the age of 12. In high school, he studied with Clyde Kerr Jr., and at the University of New Orleans, he studied with Harold Battiste and Ellis Marsalis.

His classic Verve recordings include the GRAMMY-winning Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton (1997); Payton's Place (1998) and Dear Louis (2001). Nicholas now records for his own imprint, Paytone Records, where he has recorded Numbers, and Sketches of Spain. Payton has composed and arranged, performed and recorded with his own groups in many settings, from solo to big band, plus a full orchestral work, The Black American Symphony in 2012.

Significant collaborators include with Trey Anastasio, Ray Brown, Ray Charles, Daniel Lanois, Dr. John, Stanley Jordan, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, Zigaboo Modeliste, Marcus Roberts, Jill Scott, Clark Terry, Allen Toussaint, Chucho Valdes, Nancy Wilson, and many others. He is credited on over 120 recordings. Some of his television and film credits include Kansas City; original music for HBO's Treme, and FX's The Americans; Nick@Night; Icons Among Us, the GRAMMY Awards, and The Tonight Show.

Payton has also served as Distinguished Artist and Visiting Lecturer at Tulane University and has taught master classes at over 40 institutions, including Cornell, Loyola, Northwestern and Stanford universities; the Institute of Superior Arts in Havana, Berklee, Oberlin and Skidmore colleges, the Thelonious Monk Institute, and many more.

Gerald Clayton - piano, musical director

Pianist and composer Gerald Clayton is a leading figure in the up-and-coming generation of jazz artists. He has been hailed by The New York Times for his "huge, authoritative presence."

Born in the Netherlands in 1984 and raised in Southern California, Clayton took his first piano lessons before age seven with the support and encouragement of his father, John Clayton, the acclaimed bassist, composer and bandleader. Gerald attended the L.A. County High School for the Arts, followed by both USC Thornton and the Manhattan School of Music.

In 2006, Gerald received the second place prize in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition. He then spent three years with trumpeter Roy Hargrove between 2006 and 2009, touring extensively and appearing on several of Hargrove's albums. Gerald has also recorded with Diana Krall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kendrick Scott, Melissa Morgan, Terell Stafford and Dick Oatts, and more recently Michael Rodriguez, Dayna Stephens, Terri Lyne Carrington, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, led by his father John, and his uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton.

In 2009, he released Two Shade, his debut album as a leader, with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown, and received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. In 2011, Gerald received a second GRAMMY nomination, this time for Best Jazz Instrumental Composition. Gerald's sophomore album, Bond: The Paris Sessions, earned Gerald his third GRAMMY nomination, this time for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. His latest, Life Forum, was released in 2013 on Concord Records.

Joe Sanders - bass

Joe Sanders is one of the most sought-after young bass players of his generation. He has played, recorded, and toured with many great musicians-including Ravi Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck, Mulgrew Miller, Geri Allen, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Karriem Riggins, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Geoffery Keezer, Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks, Chris Potter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian Scott, Taylor Eigsti, and Gerald Clayton.

Catherine McGinn of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra guided Sanders throughout his middle and high school years. In 2002, he attended the Brubeck Institute to study under the tutelage of Christian McBride. In 2005, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute, under Artistic Director Terence Blanchard. While at the Monk Institute Sanders was challenged by visiting teachers Jason Moran, Benny Golson, Wynton Marsalis, Stephon Harris, and Lewis Nash, to name a few. During this time, Sanders studied with John Clayton, Bob Hurst, Ron Carter, and Charlie Haden.

Sanders placed second in the finals of both the International Society of Bassists and the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Jazz Bass competitions. Currently, he leads his own band, Joe Sanders' Infinity, and tours extensively in Europe and the States with Gerald Clayton Trio. He currently lives in Paris.

Gregory Hutchinson - drums (January and February dates)
Gregory Hutchinson is one of the most highly-respected musicians of our time. Born in 1970, the Brooklyn native began to nurture his passion for music at the very young age of three. After high school, he was accepted to the Manhattan School of Music, where Justin DiCioccio became his mentor. He quickly became known as a young phenom in the jazz community, sharing the stage with Red Rodney, Betty Carter and Ray Brown while still in his early twenties. Since then, he has worked with a who's who of the jazz world including Dianne Reeves, Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield, Roy Hargrove, Charles Lloyd, Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr. Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, and Maria Schneider, and many others. His time signatures and beat compositions have won him praise from the hip hop community as well, leading him to collaborate with powerhouses Common, super producer Kareem Riggins, and Questlove of the Roots. Dianne Reeves describes him as "pure genius," and jazz critic Gary Giddins described his drum work as "elegant and dancing."

Kendrick Scott - drums (March dates)

Drummer and composer Kendrick Scott was born in Houston, Texas in 1980 and grew up in a family of musicians. By age eight, he had taken up the drums and he later attended Houston's renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a school which has produced an impressive array of musical talent, including Jason Moran and Robert Glasper, Beyoncé, and many others. While still attending HSPVA, Scott won several DownBeat magazine student awards, as well as the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Award from the International Association of Jazz Educators. He was later awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music, where he majored in music education.

Scott has toured with Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, The Crusaders, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kurt Elling, the Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary all-star band, and Terence Blanchard, where appearing on several of the trumpeter's Blue Note albums. Kendrick has released three albums as the leader of his group, Oracle: The Source, Conviction, and his 2015 Blue Note debut, We Are the Drum.

About Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Jazz Festival, a leader in the jazz world since 1958, celebrates the legacy of jazz, expands its boundaries, and provides opportunities to experience jazz through the creative production of performances and educational programs.

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