Monterey Jazz Festival Tradition Comes to Center for the Arts

Posted: February 14, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

For lovers of great jazz, the Monterey Jazz Festival has always been the ultimate jazz experience. This season marks its 50th anniversary, and to commemorate this milestone, the festival has organized a national tour.

The Monterey Jazz Festival comes to the Center for the Arts on Sunday, March 9, at 7 p.m. for a night of extraordinary jazz music.

The Monterey Jazz Festival began as a dream for founder Jimmy Lyons and his co-founder and colleague Ralph Gleason. Lyons and Gleason dreamt of a “sylvan setting with the best jazz people in the whole world playing on the same stage, having a whole weekend of jazz.”

That dream became reality in 1958 with the first Monterey Jazz Festival that brought in artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Harry James, Max Roach and Billie Holiday. Every year since then, jazz artists and enthusiasts have gathered at the fairgrounds in Monterey, Calif., during the third weekend in September for a three-day celebration of jazz music with workshops, discussions, exhibitions, and clinics dedicated to jazz education. Since its inception, the festival has donated its proceeds to music education programs.

True to its tradition, this year’s festival brings together old favorites and new talents, each of whom have strong connections to the festival.

Appearing at Mason are Terence Blanchard (trumpet), a 2007 Artist in Residence at Monterey; James Moody (saxophone), who has been performing at Monterey since 1963; Benny Green (piano), who was part of the festival’s high school All-Star Big Band; Nnenna Freelon (guest vocalist), who has regularly performed at the festival; and Kendrick Scott (drums), who performed with the Berklee Monterey Quartet.

Tickets are $42, $34 and $21; tickets for children 12 and under are half price. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

Terrence Blanchard
Terrence Blanchard

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