361

The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler

Tod Smith By

Sign in to view read count
It's hard to single out highlights from a compilation of highlights.
Frequently, even free music downloads can be overpriced. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule and the Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler from iTunes is one fine example of how free can be worth so much more than nothing.

Upon entering the Monterey Fairgrounds on a festival day, there's an assortment of people selling programs, providing security and generally just wandering around. Add to it the sounds of music emanating from the various stages and the smells coming from the food booths surrounding the grounds' perimeter and you have a perfect recipe for sensory overload. Hidden in this mélange of music, merriment and meals are a few people whose sole purpose for that day is to give you something for nothing.



Skeptics in the crowd simply walked passed them. The self-absorbed ignored them and attended to more important things. But the polite, the curious and the experienced gratefully accepted this small token of appreciation. An obvious promotion, it was not an unreasonable expectation that this card would deliver retreads of old, overworked covers of all too familiar sounding compositions. On the contrary, this deceptively simple lanyard attached a gift card from iTunes that unlocked a musical treasure chest worthy of the digital gods.



This may clearly be exaggeration, but given past experiences with free music, the 25 selections on this little gem are strong representations of performances by Monterey Jazz Festival artists. Ranging from modern, to world to Latin and even rock, the music in this compilation is just plain good.



Nearly three hours long, the 2008 Music Sampler is a clever way for the Festival, iTunes and the artists themselves to get festival-goers to try something new. With a broad representation of musical genres, this compilation provides something for all musical tastes and just as importantly, offers an opportunity for the listener to experience something he or she might not try otherwise.



It's hard to single out highlights from a compilation of highlights. Maria Schneider's Sky Blue is a breathtakingly beautiful orchestral composition featuring exquisite soprano work by Steve Wilson, while Barbara Dennerlein's contribution, Funkish is from the opposite side of the jazz spectrum—a blues-funk, Hammond B-3 driven house party that grooves from start to finish. Marc Cary's Gentle Wind is anything but gentle and highlights the considerable talents of this fine keyboardist. Clearly a departure from the traditional Monterey performances is Stablemaster by Rudder. The musicianship is apparent here and their experiences with artists as diverse as Sting, Jeff Watts and even Harry Belafonte have helped them create a nice rock-based, jam band sound.



Of course there's a healthy dose of the classics with selections from Sonny Rollins (Kids Know); Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke (Airegin); and John Coltrane (Little Melonae). And vocalists Kurt Elling (Undun) and Nancy Wilson (with Tom Scott's The Masquerade is Over) are also given their due. Many other fine recordings are featured here and the promotion is a good one. It serves the Festival, Apple, the artists and listeners well; a rare win-win in this increasingly consumers versus retailer, winners take all world.



Now, there is one problem. The cards were distributed at the Monterey Jazz Fest and to my knowledge, nowhere else. In fact, the expiration date says November 30, 2008. iTunes does allow one who already has the sampler to "gift" it to others, but there is a catch - a 0.99 charge for each song. So, the free compilation would cost your beneficiary almost $25 with tax. That said, for those at the festival, it presented a great way to sample artists they might not have noticed otherwise. By the way, a word of advice—if you find yourself at a music event, perhaps even Monterey in 2009, take the free gift. It might be worth something.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bill Frisell: Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From His Live Download Series Download Reviews Bill Frisell: Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From...
by John Kelman
Published: October 1, 2017
Read The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler Download Reviews The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler
by Tod Smith
Published: December 27, 2008
Read Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best Download Reviews Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: January 17, 2008
Read John Ellis Quartet: Live At Yoshi's - July 18, 2005 Download Reviews John Ellis Quartet: Live At Yoshi's - July 18, 2005
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: June 15, 2006
Read Free "Professor of Sax" Collection Merits a Gold Star Download Reviews Free "Professor of Sax" Collection Merits a Gold...
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: May 10, 2006
Read "Bill Frisell: Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From His Live Download Series" Download Reviews Bill Frisell: Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From...
by John Kelman
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About" Building a Jazz Library Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To...
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland" Live Reviews Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard" Catching Up With Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2016" Best of / Year End Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2016
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Take Five with Sergio Pamies" Take Five With... Take Five with Sergio Pamies
by Sergio Pamies
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017" Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.