To celebrate the golden anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival, the event's 50th Anniversary Band begins a nationwide tour this month on the West Coast with appearances in Southern California at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, January 17, and UCLA's Royce Hall, January 18.
Building on the unprecedented legacy of fifty years of historic jazz presentations, the band was a big hit at last September's festival. Its 10-week tour will include appearances at 54 venues across the country.
(l-r) Benny Green, James Moody, Terence Blanchard, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott
Heralded as a meeting of three generations of jazz masters, the quintet features Terence Blanchard on trumpet, James Moody on saxophone, musical director Benny Green on piano, Derrick Hodge on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Vocalist Nnenna Freelon will also perform.
Each member of the 50th Anniversary Band has a special relationship with the Monterey Jazz Festival. Jazz legend Moody made his first appearance at MJF in the early 1960s with Dizzy Gillespie.
"We wanted to create a lasting legacy for our 50th anniversary," says Tim Jackson, the festival's general manager. "To kick it off, we've assembled some of the masters of jazz who have a close relationship to carry the MJF name across America."
Now one of jazz's most accomplished pianist, Green participated in MJF's educational programs as a teenager in the 1970s, while Grammy winner Blanchard was MJF's Artist-In-Residence in 2007. Freelon, herself a six-time Grammy nominee, has been performing at MJF since the mid 1990s. Two young musicians round out the rhythm sectiondrummer Scott was a three-time member of the Berklee-Monterey Quartet from 1999-2002, and bassist Hodge has been a member of Terence Blanchard's bands performing at Monterey.
For a complete list of appearances, visit the Monterey Jazz Festival website. Each of the shows will feature a selection of standards and favorites from all periods of jazz, including the Tin-Pan Alley, bebop, and modern eras.