Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour 55th Anniversary
Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocals
Christian McBride, bass, Musical Director
Benny Green, piano
Lewis Nash, drums
Chris Potter, saxophones
Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, 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. 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, Monterey Jazz Festival continues this commitment in 2013 with its third North American Tour. Featuring critically-acclaimed, GRAMMY®-winning jazz artists, the all-star band consists of vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist and musical director Christian McBride, pianist Benny Green, drummer Lewis Nash, saxophonist Chris Potter, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.
Held every third full weekend in September on the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the Monterey Jazz Festival is a three-day celebration of music, commissioned jazz compositions, in-depth conversations with artists, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping, and festivities spread throughout 20 acres.
A nonprofit organization, Monterey Jazz Festival now budgets more than $600,000 annually for jazz education. Cutting-edge educational components include the Traveling Clinician and Latin Jazz Programs; the Festival’s Summer Jazz Camp; the Instrument and Sheet Music Library; the Digital Education Music Project; the Monterey County High School All-Star Bands; and the Next Generation Jazz Festival—which draws thousands of the most talented young musicians from across the country and around the world to Monterey each spring.
The Artist-In-Residence Program, a key component of Monterey Jazz Festival’s philosophy of bringing leading jazz performers to work with students throughout the year, includes their appearance at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Summer Jazz Camp and the Monterey Jazz Festival, both in performance and instruction.
A leader in jazz education, the Festival has also presented the winning bands from its high school competition since 1971, and has showcased talented young musicians in an all-star student big band, now called the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Throughout the years, many legendary and influential artists—including Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Benny Golson—have mentored and performed with the all-star students, often premiering original works written for the band. Some of the alumni of the group include Ambrose Akinmusire, Joshua Redman, Patrice Rushen, Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal, Gordon Goodwin, Larry Grenadier, and Benny Green, to name a few.
Previous Monterey Jazz Festival tours have crisscrossed the United States. In 2008, the 50th Anniversary All-Star Band made a 10-week, 54-date tour across 22 states, and featured the leaders of the past, present and future with four-time GRAMMY winner Terence Blanchard on trumpet; 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 a six-week, 34-date tour through 17 states, 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.
Dee Dee Bridgewater / vocals
The multi-talented, two-time GRAMMY-winning vocalist and Tony Award-winning actress, Dee Dee Bridgewater, has had an illustrious career. Since her New York debut in 1970, she has appeared with the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Roland Kirk, and many more. As an actress, she has appeared on stages around the world, which include her Tony-winning performance as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz on Broadway and her Laurence Olivier Award-nominated portrayal of Billie Holiday in Stephen Stahl’s Lady Day in London. She has also appeared in Sophisticated Ladies, Cosmopolitan Greetings, Black Ballad, Carmen Jazz, and Cabaret. As host of NPR’s Jazzset, Dee Dee presents today's best jazz artists in performance on stages around the world, and, over the course of her career, she has recorded many albums, including homages to Horace Silver, Kurt Weill, and the Grammy Award-winning albums Dear Ella (1997), and Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959):To Billie with Love from Dee Dee (2010). In December 2012, Dee Dee received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from University of Michigan-Flint. Dee Dee made her first appearance at the Monterey Jazz in Festival in 1973 with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.
Christian McBride / bass, musical director
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride has been at the forefront of jazz since the early 1990s. As one of the most in-demand bassists in the world, he has recorded and performed with a wide range of artists, including Freddie Hubbard, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, Roy Haynes, Benny Green, Kathleen Battle, Diana Krall, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Smith, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, George Duke, Sting, Chick Corea, Chris Botti, James Brown, Queen Latifah, Carly Simon, Sonny Rollins, Roy Haynes, and many more. As a recording artist, McBride has many projects that have released albums for the Verve, Warner Brothers and Mack Avenue labels, including the critically-acclaimed Kind of Brown (2009) recorded with his group Inside Straight, and 2011’s GRAMMY-winning The Good Feeling, his first big band recording as a leader, arranger and conductor. As a jazz educator and mentor, he serves as the Artistic Director at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass summer program and is the Co-Director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem; and has held Artistic Director, Creative Chair, and Artist-In-Residence positions at the Henry Mancini and Brubeck Institutes, the Berklee College of Music, Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Detroit and Monterey Jazz Festivals. Christian has appeared at the Festival eight times since 1994.
Benny Green / piano
Born in New York in 1963, pianist Benny Green grew up in Berkeley, California, and as a teenager, he worked with Eddie Henderson and Chuck Israels. Arriving in New York City in 1982, and studying with Walter Bishop Jr., Green worked with Betty Carter from 1983-1987, and then played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers through 1989. After working with Freddie Hubbard's quintet, Oscar Peterson chose Benny as the first recipient of the City of Toronto's Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music in 1993, the same year he joined Ray Brown's trio. In 1997, Benny resumed his freelance career, leading his own trios, accompanying singers like Diana Krall; and concentrating on solo piano performances. As a leader, Benny has recorded many albums for the Criss Cross, Blue Note, Toshiba, and Telarc labels, and has appeared on over 100 recordings with many artists, including Betty Carter, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson, Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, Ray Brown, and more. Benny acted as the Musical Director for Monterey Jazz Festival’s 50th Anniversary Tour in 2008; and was a featured performer with Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band in 2010. Benny continues to be an in-demand guest artist, leading workshops and master classes at such educational institutions and music clinics as the Juilliard School, Interlochen, the Monk Institute, Eastern Washington State University, Jazz Camp West, Snow College, Centrum and the Brubeck Institute. A longtime Monterey artist, Benny made the first of his eight performances at the Festival (as a 15-year-old in 1978) as the pianist in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.
Lewis Nash / drums
Drummer Lewis Nash grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and by the age of 18, he was a first-call sideman for visiting musicians. He moved to New York in 1980 to join Betty Carter's band. Since then, Nash’s versatility has made him one of the most in-demand drummers of the past several decades--recording and touring with Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Ray Brown, Gerald Wilson, Horace Silver, Ron Carter, Hank Jones, Benny Carter, Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, and many others, and has made three recordings as a leader. Recognized as one of the foremost brush stylists of his generation, Nash is also renowned for his passion and dedication to jazz education, fostering the careers of a long list of younger players; and has served as a clinician and educator at schools, workshops and major educational jazz festivals worldwide. In 2012, Jazz in Arizona opened The Nash, a non-profit, 2,600 square-foot performance space in Phoenix, named in his honor. Lewis has appeared at the Festival twice since 2001.
Chris Potter / saxophone
GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist Chris Potter, who DownBeat Magazine called “one of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet" is a potent improviser and is the youngest musician ever to win Denmark's Jazzpar Prize. Born in Chicago in 1971, and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, he has recorded 19 albums as a leader for the Criss Cross, Concord, Koch, Emarcy, Verve, and Storyville labels. As a sideman, Potter has appeared on more than 100 others with a wide variety of artists including Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, Jim Hall, Dave Douglas, Ray Brown, and many others. Over the years, he has been a regular member of Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, Steely Dan, and bassist Dave Holland’s groups, including Holland’s Monterey Quartet, which also featured pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and drummer Eric Harland at Monterey’s 50th Anniversary in 2007. His most recent membership is with Pat Metheny’s Unity Band, Pat’s first group in 30 years to feature a saxophonist. Making an appearance with the Unity Band at the 55th Monterey Jazz Festival in 2012, Pat said: “He is one of the greatest musicians I have ever been around." Chris made the first of his eight Festival appearances in 1997.
Ambrose Akinmusire / trumpet
Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire was born in Oakland, California, attended Berkeley High School and was a member of the 1999 and 2000 Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Star Band. At 19, Steve Coleman hired Ambrose in his Five Elements band for an extensive European tour. Ambrose moved to New York City in 2000 to attend the Manhattan School of Music, performing with Lonnie Plaxico, Stefon Harris, Josh Roseman, Vijay Iyer, Charlie Persip, the Mingus Big Band, and the San Francisco Jazz Collective along the way. In 2005, he returned to the West Coast for a master’s degree at the UCLA, and simultaneously attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he studied with Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Billy Childs and Gary Grant. After graduation in 2007, Ambrose won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in the span of one week. After performing live and making appearances on recordings with Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Alan Pasqua, Walter Smith III, Josh Roseman, Esperanza Spalding, Aaron Parks, Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Jason Moran, Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and more, Ambrose released When The Heart Emerges Glistening on Blue Note Records in 2011. The New York Times wrote that Ambrose’s quintet “seems destined for much wider recognition,” and named When The Heart Emerges Glistening as their top CD of the year. The Los Angeles Times said “Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered.” Ambrose was Monterey’s Artist-In-Residence in 2012, and has made four appearances at the Festival since the 1990s.