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2009 Monterey Jazz Fest Line-up Announced

Saxophonist Joe Lovano is this year's MJF Showcase Artist

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The Monterey Jazz Festival launches its fifty-second edition with a variety of legendary performers, American icons, and visionary new artists in weekend of jazz, blues, folk, and American song that has characterized the world-renowned event since its inception in 1958. 

The festival takes place Friday through Sunday, September 18-20, 2009, on the oak-studded expanse of the Monterey Fairgrounds.

Check out our photos from the 2008 Monterey Jazz Fest!

The Main Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage will be the focal point of the Festival, with a lineup that celebrates the past, present, and future of American music with multiple award-winning artists and special projects, including NEA Jazz Master Hank Jones with Grammy winning saxophonist Joe Lovano (this year's Showcase Artist); the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by nine-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (the festival's Artists-In-Residence); and the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars featuring pianist Kenny Barron, violinist Regina Carter, vocalist Kurt Elling, and guitarist Russell Malone.

Also on hand are bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding; vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater; Grammy-winning pianist George Duke; Jason Moran & The Bandwagon (this year's Commission Artist); and the highly-anticipated super-trio of 15-time Grammy winner and NEA Jazz Master and pianist Chick Corea with bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White.

Highlighting the festival's blues-themed Saturday afternoon showcase are roots/blues guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi, folk music pioneer Pete Seeger, and the gospel-soaked baptismal blues of John Scofield and the Piety Street Band.

Special 50th anniversary celebrations of classic and historic jazz recordings from 1959 will fill the Arena with Conrad Herwig's Latin Side All-Star Band (with the five-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Joe Lovano), playing the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beloved and influential jazz classics, "Kind of Blue" and "Giant Steps." NEA Jazz Master and pianist Dave Brubeck returns to the stages of Monterey for his 15th festival appearance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his best-selling (and groundbreaking) recording, "Time Out."

Music education will also take center stage in the Arena, with the top high school big band — selected at the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Festival (April 3-5, 2009) — kicking off the Sunday Arena program, followed by MJF's own Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, featuring Wynton Marsalis and the top high school musicians in the country.

Here's a day-by-day overview of the 52nd annual Monterey Jazz Festival:

Friday, September 18

Friday's music in the Main Arena will kick off MJF/52 with an extravaganza of talent, starting off with the MJF debut of up-and-coming bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, followed by the latest edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars featuring pianist Kenny Barron, violinist Regina Carter, vocalist Kurt Elling, guitarist Russell Malone, bassist Kiyoshi Kitigawa and drummer Johnathan Blake. Closing the Arena's first evening is Conrad Herwig's explosive Latin Side All-Star Band featuring Randy Brecker and Joe Lovano, updating Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" in honor of the 50th anniversary of their release.

Friday night on the Grounds, "New Grooves" comes back to Dizzy's Den for seventh year, kicking off with the return of vocalist Lizz Wright, followed by breakout sensation Esperanza Spalding in her second set of the evening. Across the pathway in the Night Club, the Scott Amendola Trio will get the venue's evening of to a quirky bebop-oriented set, followed by the stellar John Patitucci Trio, featuring Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade. Closing the Night Club will be Forro in the Dark, performing the Brazilian-folk dance music. 

On the outdoor Garden Stage, the Roger Eddy Group gets the music started Friday with his West Coast-flavored jazz, followed by the straight-ahead 2009 Berklee-Monterey Quartet, a harbinger of future musical talent. Global Noize — a mash-up project headed by keyboardist Jason Miles and DJ Logic — closes out the Garden stage on an inclusive world music note. 

In the Coffee House Gallery, fans will be treated to three sets from pianist Jonathan Batiste, the next generation of a New Orleans musical dynasty. In Lyons Lounge, DJ Vinnie Esparza will shake things up with an extended set of Salsa, Afro-Latin and Brazilian music.

Saturday, September 19

Saturday's line-up in the Arena features an afternoon of radically different guitar styles: John Scofield and the Piety Street Band opens the day with a sanctified set of New Orleans and Gospel-inflected blues, followed by American icon and visionary acoustic folk pioneer Pete Seeger in a very special and historic MJF debut. Blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi also debuts on Saturday to close the afternoon (her husband, guitarist Derek Trucks, performed at the 2008 festival).

Saturday night's Arena program returns with three classic jazz acts. Starting the evening is the Joe Lovano/Hank Jones Quartet, featuring John Patitucci and Brian Blade, followed by vocalist, jazz ambassador, radio personality, and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater. Closing the evening is the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, the Artists-In-Residence of MJF/52.

Around the festival grounds, Saturday will get off to a rousing start with a wide variety of performers and styles on the Garden Stage, including a tribute to Charles Brown from pianist Martin Headman; the Texas blues of guitarist, vocalist and songsmith Ruthie Foster; the raucous and funky New Orleans All-Stars featuring Henry Butler and Cyrile Neville; the soul-pop of guitarist and vocalist Raul Midón; and the Afro-Brazilian funk of Wayne Wallace and Rhythm & Rhyme.

Dizzy's Den will open on a "Blue Note" with an historical conversation with Blue Note label president Bruce Lundvall and Mosaic Records founder and three-time Grammy-winning producer Michael Cuscuna. Journalist Dan Ouellette returns with his longtime MJF favorite, the "DownBeat Blindfold Test," with legendary pianist George Duke.

On Saturday night, the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars will put on their second show of the weekend, followed by the groove-oriented Soulive featuring John Scofield. Closing out Dizzy's Den on Saturday night is Dee Dee Bridgewater, in her second appearance of the weekend. Meanwhile, visitors to the intimate and dynamic Coffee House Gallery will be treated to three sets each of classic and progressive jazz from Weber Iago's Dhanyavad Project and the Peter Erskine/Alan Pasqua Trio.

In the Night Club, Saturday gets off to a youthful start with the top college vocal group from MJF's Next Generation Festival, followed by the Monterey Bay Jazz Orchestra. The evening's shows will simmer with the Cuban and Latin jazz of the Rodriguez Brothers, the post-bop trumpet of Ambrose Akinmusire (a former MJF Next Generation Jazz Orchestra member) and regale in a special tribute from Conrad Herwig's Latin Side All-Star Band, playing the music of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

On the other end of the grounds, in Lyons Lounge, DJ Vinnie Esparza will pump out a second extended set of soul-jazz, Afro-Latin and Brazilian music in what has become an ongoing tradition (now in it's third year at MJF).

Sunday, September 20

Sunday afternoons in the Main Arena reflects MJF's 52-year support of jazz education with the top high school big band from the Next Generation Festival, followed by followed by MJF's own Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, featuring Wynton Marsalis and the top high school musicians in the country. The Grammy-winning George Duke closes the Sunday afternoon set.

Sunday night celebrates "Three Generations of Pianists," with the premiere of the MJF/52 Commission piece, "Feedback" and more from Jason Moran & The Bandwagon, followed by the incomparable Dave Brubeck Quartet as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brubeck's groundbreaking recording "Time Out." 

Capping off the Arena's Sunday program is the highly-anticipated super-trio Corea, Clark & White. Featuring former Return to Forever members (who all reunited, along with guitarist Al DiMeola, for a 2008 tour) Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White, the MJF/52 Arena program will end Sunday night on a highly eclectic and electric note.

Sunday will be no less eclectic on the festival fairgrounds. The Night Club will host the top eight student groups from MJF's Next Generation Festival, with the evening's concerts featuring the pianist and NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Quartet, followed by Jason Moran & The Bandwagon.

Dizzy's Den will feature an afternoon of jazz education and music, including a conversation with NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi hosted by journalist Yoshi Kato, followed by a Jazz Journalists Association panel entitled "Jazz… and the DJs Who Played the Records." Dizzy's Den will enjoy an evening of jazz stardom with shows from Joe Lovano leading US5 with bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist James Weidman, and drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown Jr. The closing show in Dizzy's Den will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

The outdoor Garden Stage will have the top college big band from the Next Generation Festival, followed by master trumpeter Scotty Barnhart. Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez will close out the afternoon's Garden Stage.

The evening shows will subvert the norm with the debut of Buffalo Collision, a collective-improv supergroup featuring pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King of the Bad Plus, with two New York downtown improvising legends, saxophonist Tim Berne and cellist Hank Roberts. The Shotgun Wedding Quintet will bring their own contemporary take on the acoustic tradition with a blend of hip-hop and jazz to end the evening.

DJ Logic will take a turn in Lyons Lounge with an extended evening set, and the Coffee House Gallery will host the Terrence Brewer Trio for two sets of guitar-jazz; a clinic with the 2009 Berklee-Monterey Quartet, followed by two sets from the visionary pianist, the Vijay Iyer Trio.

But Wait... There's More at MJF/52

All weekend long, Lyons Lounge (at the end of Lyons Lane, nera the Main Arena) will pulse with Samba, Afro-Cuban, funk and soul-jazz sounds of Vinnie Esparza (Friday and Saturday nights) and DJ Logic (Sunday night); both DJs are returning for encore performances. The Lounge will once again offer fans a hip jazz club setting to chill out on the north end of the Grounds.

Elsewhere around the festival grounds, an exhibit in the Coffee House Gallery celebrates the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records, entitled "Somethin' Else: The Art of Blue Note Records," which showcases the iconic photography of Francis Wolff with classic Blue Note record designs by Reid Miles. The art of over 30 classic albums will be displayed in a visual feast of landmark graphic design from the world's most celebrated jazz label. 

And, in what has become a signature MJF welcome, Sue Downs will be performing on the Yamaha Disklavier on the Courtyard Stage, at the entrance of the Festival grounds.

The Jazz Theater will show simulcasts of the Arena shows all weekend long in the 900-seat venue. In addition, there will also be special Saturday film screenings of the Ralph J. Gleason presentation, "The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi," an official documentary authorized by the Guaraldi family about the influential and popular West Coast pianist, hosted by Toby Gleason. On Sunday, the theater will present "Music Is My Life, Politics My Mistress: The Story of Oscar Brown Jr.," a documentary about the American singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, and civil rights activist, presented by director and producer donnie l. betts.

Tickets are on sale now by phone at 925.275.9255, and on the Monterey Jazz Festival website. Full Weekend Arena Packages are available from $225; daily Grounds Tickets are from $35; full Weekend Grounds Tickets are $110.00. MJF's new "Family Discount Pack" is $80 for two Adult and two Youth tickets.

The Festival encourages jazz fans to purchase tickets early for the 52nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, presented by Verizon. Arena packages traditionally sell out quickly and are available only on a first-come, first-serve basis. Grounds tickets will increase by $5 per day Tuesday through Sunday of Festival week (September 15-20), so fans are advised to act quickly and save on the low price of Grounds tickets before they're gone.

DeeDee Bridgewater performs Saturday night at the 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival

Chick Corea will be joined by bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White for a Sunday night performance

Up-and-coming bassist Esperanza Spalding kicks off the 52nd annual jazz fest on Friday night in the Main Arena

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