Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Festival

The Monterey Jazz Festival, a nonprofit leader in jazz education since its inception in 1958 and JazzTimes Readers' Poll multi-year winner for world's Best Jazz Festival, is proud to announce the 5th Annual Next Generation Festival, April 3 - 5, 2009 in downtown Monterey. The weekend event, devoted to the future of jazz, includes the Next Generation Festival Jazz Competition with Big Bands, Combos, Vocal Ensembles, and individual musicians vying for a spot on the stages of the 52nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon.

A three-year grant from the Surdna Foundation supports the Next Generation Festival and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra's international tours. The Surdna Foundation's Arts Program is national in scope and supports the artistic advancement of teens, ages 12 - 18.
All Next Generation Festival competition events - from the Kick-Off Concert on Friday, April 3 to the exuberant and electric big band, vocal ensemble and combo competition on Saturday, April 4 and the College Big Band Vocal Jazz Ensemble finals on Sunday, April 5 - will be open to the public, free of charge. The Festival will also conduct clinics, workshops, jam sessions, and auditions in the heart of the historic Monterey, with music to be performed at the Monterey Conference Center, the host Portola Plaza Hotel, at Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, and at Monterey Live.

For a complete schedule of activities and competition times, visit Attracting musicians from some of the most prestigious educational programs in the country, MJF's Next Generation Festival represents the largest gathering of young jazz talent on the Monterey Peninsula, outside of the Monterey Jazz Festival itself. Fifty-seven bands from six states, from Alaska to Texas, will participate in the prestigious event.

California, one of the strongholds of music education, has schools from fourteen counties represented in the festival - including Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Madera, Monterey, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara Counties.

In addition, the Next Generation Festival will present special guest groups from England and Japan throughout the weekend. The Next Generation Festival will officially start with the annual Kick-Off Concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 3 at the Monterey Conference Center. The opening night's activities will feature the Festival's annual Salute to Jazz Education, along with performances by the competition judges, including pianist George Duke, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, trombonist Ron Westray, saxophonists Billy Harper and Paul Contos, bassist Ray Drummond, and vocalists Matt Falker, Jennifer Barnes, and Michele Weir. Entry to the Salute to Jazz Education and Kick-Off Concert is open to the public, free of charge.

Also featured during the evening concert will be the Monterey Jazz Festival Artists-In-Residence, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra saxophonist Sherman Irby and trumpeter Sean Jones.

MJF's Next Generation Festival Jazz Competition starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 4 in downtown Monterey's Conference Center, with high-energy big bands, combos, and vocal ensembles creating an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement.

Throughout the day, participants in the High School Big Band, Vocal, and Combo divisions will put on their best performances before the judges, who will determine the top groups and outstanding soloists. The top groups of the day in the High School Vocal, Combo, and Big Band divisions will be announced at 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening from the Conference Center's Serra Ballroom stage. At 8 p.m. Saturday night, the top vocal ensembles, combo, and Big Band finalists will take the stage in the Next Generation Festival's Showcase Concert - a preview of the bands to perform at MJF/52, a departure from the big band "play-off" in past years.

The Next Generation Festival will also host a variety of educational clinics on Saturday, April 4, including presentations by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra members Sherman Irby and Sean Jones, as well as a vocal clinic with Matt Falker on Jazz Solo Singing & Melodic Styling.

The Next Generation Festival continues through Sunday, April 5 with the country's top middle school, college, conglomerate big bands, and college vocal ensembles performing in the Conference Center's Serra Ballroom and Steinbeck Forum. The top college big band, college vocal ensemble, and conglomerate big band (to be announced during the day) will also earn a performance slot at MJF/52. New for 2009 will be the College Vocal Ensemble Division, another expansion of performance opportunities at the Next Generation Festival.

Auditions will also be held throughout the Next Generation Festival weekend for the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and for the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, MJF's national all-star high school band, which now includes a vocalist spot.

The Next Generation Festival is introducing two new partnership elements this year: an Instrument Showcase and College Fair. The Instrument Showcase will allow musicians an opportunity to play various instruments from participating partners. The College Fair will allow students an opportunity to visit with several colleges offering jazz and other music programs. Both activities will be offered throughout the Next Generation Festival weekend.

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