Monterey Jazz Festival Announces 2nd Next Generation Festival

The Monterey Jazz Festival, a leader in jazz education since its inception in 1958, has announced exciting expansions for its annual salute to the young stars of jazz. The world's longest running jazz festival will host the 2nd Annual “Next Generation Festival” in honor of the music's rising young stars from Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23, 2006 featuring MJF 2006 Artist-in-Residence, world-renowned jazz vocalist Kurt Elling.

Building on the overwhelming success of the 2005 Next Generation Festival, the 2nd annual Festival will once again take place in the historic and lively hub of downtown Monterey, filling the town with vibrant musical activity in a celebration of all things jazz. The Festival is set to include the National High School Big Band Competition and the Big Band Composition Competition, with top musicians competing to win a spot on the stages of the 49th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. The weekend event will also include clinics and performance opportunities for Middle Schools and auditions for the international touring all-star ensemble, the MJF Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. In a thrilling new development, the Next Generation is also set to feature several exciting new components including a new College Big Band Competition, a new Vocal Solo Workshop, and a special performance featuring the Berklee/Monterey Quartet.

Events will take place in downtown Monterey's Conference Center, adjacent to the host Portola Plaza Hotel and next to Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf. With discounts on hotel accommodations, aquarium visits and whale-watching trips, the Next Generation Festival is a true Monterey experience for all participants. As in the past, Next Generation Festival events - from the star studded Opening Night Concert to the hotly contested Big Band Finals on Saturday night - will be open to the public, free of charge.

Participants and patrons will have several opportunities to witness MJF 2006 Artist-in-Residence, vocalist Kurt Elling, in a variety of settings throughout the three-day Festival. A six-time Grammy Award nominee, Kurt Elling has become known for his vocalese, spoken word, and improvised scatting, as well as an appreciation of the classic jazz songbook that has re-energized the art of jazz singing for a new generation. He has released six albums on the Blue Note recording label and won “Best Male Singer” honors three years running in the DownBeat and the JazzTimes critics' polls. At the 2006 Next Generation Festival, he will serve as a competition judge and teach the Vocal Solo Workshop.

The weekend will kick off with the traditional Opening Night Concert by Competition judges, including faculty from the prestigious Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California and other eminent jazz institutions. The free concert has traditionally attracted standing room only crowds, so fans are advised to arrive early for the 7:00 pm start.

The Opening Night Concert will be followed by a performance featuring some of the brightest collegiate jazz stars. The Berklee/Monterey Jazz Quartet, showcasing students from the Boston's Berklee College of Music, will perform at Monterey Live, a new performing arts venue in the heart of downtown Monterey.

The weekend's National High School Jazz Competition will kick off on Saturday at 9:00 am with 12 Big Bands, 6 Combos and 6 Vocal Groups from around the country competing throughout the day for a spot on the stages of the Monterey Jazz Festival, plus trophies, cash prizes, scholarships and more. Three finalist Big Bands will be announced at the end of the day on Saturday, with the three contenders vying for the top spot on Saturday night. Winners of all events, along with individual winners of scholarships and trophies, will be announced at the conclusion of Saturday night's Big Band finals.

Saturday night will conclude with a dazzling jam session at Monterey Live, giving student participants of all ages from schools across the country the opportunity to perform together in front of enthusiastic audiences.

The Competition also includes two components that proved successful in the inaugural Next Generation Festival. 6 Middle School Big Bands will participate in a Middle School Jazz Festival, including clinics and a non-competitive event on Sunday, April 23, with additional performances on tap throughout the weekend. In addition, a Big Band Composition Competition fill feature the work of young composers, with the winning composition to receive its world premiere by the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the 49th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival presented by MCI, September 15 - 17, 2006.

During the Next Generation Festival, Competition judges will also audition members of the MJF Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and announce selections the following week. An internationally recognized all-star ensemble of emerging jazz talent, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will tour major jazz festivals in the summer of 2006 and perform at the 49th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival presented by MCI, September 15-17, 2006. Individual musicians, who are not required to be members of a band, may apply for a spot on the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra via videotape by March 3, 2006 or in person at the Next Generation Festival on April 23, 2006. February 3, 2006 is the deadline for all Next Generation Festival entries. Details and Application Forms for all entries and for all individual musicians are available on the Festival's web site,

Overall, one of the most exciting programs of the weekend may prove to be the new College Big Band Competition. For the first time ever in Monterey, college participants will be able to witness one of the jazziest events in downtown Monterey and serve as mentors for their younger counterparts, while fans can catch the sparkling display of jazz artistry from some of the fastest rising collegiate and semi-professional stars in the country. “It's a great opportunity to expand the festival and include colleges at this year's Next Generation Festival, ” says MJF Education Director Rob Klevan. “It'll add a whole new dimension to the Festival. The whole town will buzz about the level of musicianship coming from these great young talents, and there'll be some amazing music to hear in downtown Monterey this April.”

With the continued success of the Next Generation Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival maintains its long-standing commitment to jazz education. The Festival has been a leader in music education since the Festival's inception in 1958. In recent years, the Monterey Jazz Festival has invested $500, 000 annually in its innovative jazz education programs, ranging from a Traveling Clinicians Program, with professional musicians visiting Monterey County schools to each students how to play jazz, to its internationally acclaimed High School Jazz Competition, which boasts Joshua Redman, Patrice Rushen, Benny Green and other jazz stars as alumni.

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