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Monterey Jazz Festival Wraps Up 65th Edition

The 66th Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 22-24, 2023.

California's Monterey Jazz Festival presented its 65th edition from September 23-25 with a weekend that brought live jazz to four outdoor stages and over 20,000 attendees to the Monterey County Fairgrounds.

"The 2022 Monterey Jazz Festival was amazing! We were finally back to a full festival and all the artists played their hearts out," said Tim Jackson, MJF's Artistic Director. "The weather was great, and the fairgrounds bustled with energy and good vibes. It makes me optimistic for the future!"

Friday afternoon's live music began with the Morgan State University Jazz Ensemble, the John Hanrahan Quartet, Akira Tana and Otonowa, the Berklee Jazz and Gender Justice Group, Emmaline, Samara Joy, the Julian Lage Trio, The Bad Plus, the Reunion Trio with Bruce Forman, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton; Nicholas Payton and New World Order, and three sets from Mo'Fone. The Jimmy Lyons Stage featured an early standout performance of the large-scale work from Chucho Valdés, "La Creación" and the contemporary British group Incognito featuring Maysa.

Saturday's shows began with the Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble, with standout performances from Terrie Odabi, Butcher Brown, Dan Wilson Quartet, the Emmet Cohen Trio, The Cookers, Matthew Whitaker, Joel Ross, and many others. On the Arena Stage, Saturday's highlights included the all-star group Artemis, Las Cafeteras (who had been sidelined in 2020 and 2021 by COVID), a space-age set from Veronica Swift, with masterful performances from the Moodswing Reunion group with Josh Redman, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau and Brian Blade, and the MJF On Tour All-Stars, led by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling and Christian Sands.

MJF65's final day began on the Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines with a sanctified Sunday morning gospel show that featured the choirs from HBCU partners Texas Southern University and Morgan State University, led by Tammy Hall and vocalists Brown, Sturgis & Brown, and was sponsored by Google. The day unfolded with outstanding sets from Brandee Younger, Gerald Clayton Trio, the Brubeck Brothers, Keyon Harrold, Kim Nalley and Houston Person, Kyle Eastwood, Nate Smith + Kinfolk, and others. The Arena hosted the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra directed by Gerald Clayton, SuperBlue with Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter, Ranky Tanky with Lisa Fischer, a powerful set of cosmic music from Ravi Coltrane and Brandee Younger, and a rousing and inspiring closing set from Gregory Porter.

One of Sunday's highlights was Kris Bowers' multi-media commission Ásylo, which fused underwater cinematography projected on a large screen with acoustic chamber and electric music The piece was co-created in partnership with the festival and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.

Before Bowers premiered Ásylo, former US House of Representatives member for California's 17th and 23rd districts Sam Farr addressed the arena crowd: "For over 250 years, music's been made here in Monterey, where the state of California was born ... it's inspiring to writers, to composers [and] musicians ... but that inspiration is also the ocean. Underneath that flat surface is a canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon. The politics of this area stopped offshore oil drilling and created, to sustain the beauty of the area, a national park like Yosemite or Yellowstone. Tonight, we combine the incredible beauty of this bay with the inspiration and creativity of the great musicians behind me."

All weekend long, the dance group of three sisters from the Netherlands, Let It Happen, made multiple appearances on three stages in unexpected jazz dance collaborations with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and MJF on Tour, and appeared as interludes between acts.

Alaska Airlines presented the Garden Stage all weekend and a new large new venue, the West End Stage, was presented by Castoro Cellars. The Premier Club hosted celebrity chef demonstrations from Jason Fullilove and Michael and Kwini Reed. Wine tastings from partners Okapi, Castoro Cellars and McBride Sisters took place in the Patio Bar, along with live tapings of the web interview series Welcome to the Sands Box with Christian Sands with Lakecia Benjamin and Kurt Elling.

The 66th Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 22-24, 2023. Details about the festival, including the lineup and 2023 Artist-in-Residence, will be announced in the spring of 2023. For more information, visit montereyjazzfestival.org.



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