Jazz Festival At A Distance
On September 21-23, the Monterey Jazz Festival will launch a celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, showcasing renowned jazz artists including Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Dave Brubeck, Gerald Wilson, Jim Hall, Ernestine Anderson, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chris Potter and others. As a part of the celebration, commissioned artist Gerald Wilson and his orchestra will premiere his new composition, "Monterey Moods," while artist-in-residence, trumpeter Terence Blanchard will perform "Requiem For Katrina with the Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra. For more information phone 925-275-9255 or go to www.montereyjazzfestival.org
In October, Ken Poston and the L.A. Jazz Institute return to action with a Cavalcade of Big Band Jazz, showcasing twenty-one of the West Coast's finest ensembles in a three-day marathon. As usual, the event will be held at the Four Points Sheraton LAX Hotel, and the dates are October 4-6. Among the highlights: Primal Scream: An All-Star Tribute to Maynard Ferguson; 7.5 on the Richter Scale: Alumni of the Stan Kenton Orchestra Focusing on the 1970s; A Bill Holman Retrospective featuring his works for Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, plus rarely heard compositions and arrangements for his own big band; Miles Ahead: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans Classic Collaboration; and the Film Scores of Duke Ellington played by the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra. And that's just for starters. Bands scheduled to perform (with others to be named later) include the Bill Holman Band, the Bob Florence Limited Edition, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Jack Sheldon, Gary Urwin and Chris Walden big bands, Kim Richmond's Concert Jazz Orchestra, and the Collegiate Neophonic Orchestra of Southern California directed by Jack Wheaton. As was the case in May, when early birds took a bus trip to Balboa to reprise the origins of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, there will be a "bonus event on October 3: a performance by the Buddy Rich Alumni Band directed by Bobby Shew. To contact the L.A. Jazz Institute, phone 562-985-7065 or go to www.lajazzinstitute.org
And later in October, the Los Angeles Jazz Society presents its 24th annual Jazz Tribute Awards dinner and concert at the Marriott Downtown Hotel, 333 South Figueroa St. The date is October 21, the Tribute honoree composer Johnny Mandel, the honorary chairs Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the host Leonard Maltin. Oher awards will be presented to Marla Gibbs (Lifetime Achievement), Linda Hopkins (Jazz Vocalist), Bob Florence (Composer/Arranger), Ken Poston (Founders Award) and Greg Samuel (Jazz Educator). For information, phone 818-994-4661.
Moving to the East Coast, Jazz Improv Magazine is hosting its first JI Convention October 25-28 at the New Yorker Hotel, 418 8th Avenue. There'll be exhibits, panels, lectures and workshops in addition to performances by a host of well-known artists including McCoy Tyner, Pat Martino, Joey DeFrancesco, Jimmy Heath, Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Sonny Fortune, Vic Juris, Valery Ponomarev, Ron Blake, Jimmy Bruno, Mark Elf, Hal Galper, Mike Longo, Tim Horner, Michael Weiss, Dom Minasi, Marvin Stamm, Frank Catalano and many others. You'll find more information at www.jazzimprov.com
If ever there were a Jazz cruise I'd like to sail on, it's happening November 11-18 on Holland America's m/s Westerdam. The week-long Caribbean excursion, whose ports of call include Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay, will feature performances by the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band with vocalist Roberta Gambarini, special guest Arturo Sandoval, the Eric Alexander Quartet, the Lynne Arriale Trio, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, the Jeff Hamilton Trio, the Charles McPherson Quintet and the Lewis Nash Quartet, plus Shelly Berg, Clairdee, Wycliffe Gordon, Ann Hampton Callaway, Eddie Higgins, Red Holloway, Jay Leonhart, Victor Lewis, Ken Peplowski, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Patti Wicks, Rickey Woodard and others. Dizzy's alumni band, by the way, includes in its lineup James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Antonio Hart, Steve Davis, Dennis Mackrel, Claudio Roditi, director Slide Hampton and others. Wow! What a way to sail the ocean blue. Phone 800-762-6737 or go to www.thejazzcruise.com for more information.
Betty and I will be in Prescott, AZ, August 24-26 for the seventh annual Prescott Jazz Summit (our third). Trumpeter Mike Vax is the director, and he has assembled a lineup that includes pianist Bob Florence, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, trombonist Scott Whitfield, drummer Gary Hobbs, saxophonist Tony Vacca, guitarist Jack Petersen, bassist Dwight Kilian and this year's prominent newcomer, trumpeter Carl Saunders. Musicians from Prescott and Phoenix will also perform, as will big bands from Prescott High School, the Arizona Jazz Academy and Prescott Jazz on the Rocks. For information phone 928-771-1268 or 925-872-1942.