Quotes from the Press

2014 Quotes:

"The granddaddy of jazz events..." –Wall Street Journal

"The venerable festival began in 1958 with the headliners Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, and has been a remarkable predictor of jazz’s next great stars ever since. Steadily operating since that first year, with a nonprofit structure that funnels back into jazz education endeavors, Monterey Jazz has a great spirit all its own."
New York Times

"[Monterey Jazz Festival] can be seen as a rite of passage for the music fan. It's something that all jazz lovers should try to get to at least once in their lives. Once you make it there, however, don't be surprised if you end up going again -- and again. It's a three-day jazz wonderland, offering up a mix of the genre's legends, up-and-coming artists and other treats."  San Jose Mercury News

2013 Quotes:

"For the devout jazz follower, Monterey is sacred ground."
Financial Times

“The Monterey Jazz Festival would be an astounding attraction if it focused only on presenting superstar performers. But, anyone who has experienced the MJF at any time over the past half-century knows that this festival is much more than that.” –Santa Cruz Weekly

“It might be…the best music festival in the world.” –SF Weekly

“[The] sense of community and unity is at the heart of the Monterey Jazz Festival…” –Good Times Weekly

“Congress is imploding, and the wheels of government may soon grind to a halt. Big deal. The Monterey Jazz Festival opens tonight. It’s nearly mythic in stature, yet relaxed, a place to hear dozens of the best jazz musicians over the course of a weekend.” –San Jose Mercury News

“The Dave Brubeck tribute, “Suite Sweet Dave” was the [Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra] highlight—it was designed as an elegy, featuring some of Brubeck’s lesser known melodies, many of them reflective pieces that emphasized the beauty and diversity of a man who was composing everything from trio music to symphonies, throughout his life. One of Brubeck’s signature contributions to MJF was “The Real Ambassadors,” which featured Louis Armstrong, and CHJO took the original recording of “Summer Song,” featuring Satchmo, and enhanced it with a full orchestral backing, to the delight of the crowd. It was all in all a memorable nod to Brubeck, showing the heart and soul of his composing.”
International Review of Music

“Omara Portuondo…came sweeping onstage in a light blue dress, full of grace and energy…she has instant communication with the audience—her spare English was understood by all and the audience, which didn’t need much prompting, was up on its feet dancing. During the encore, Omara invited some of the dancers on stage. As midnight approached, the Arena audience, most of which had stuck around as the breezy evening turned seasonably cool, roared its approval.” –International Review of Music

“…if that wasn't the most perfect opening night ever, it must be somewhere in the top ten." –Bebopified.com

“Benson dipped into his bag of hits…and got the sun-drenched crowd up and pulsing like one big, funky heart.. the 56th edition of this magnificent event felt as strong as ever...” –Seattle Times

“At the Arena, Bob James and David Sanborn drew a huge crowd. Their Quartette Humaine with famed drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus was one of the most talked-about events of the Festival, and the line that formed later for CD signings one of the longest.” –Jazzpolice.com

“Monterey Jazz Festival is admittedly a dually grueling and exciting event…Once you go…you'll return. The atmosphere, artists and international camaraderie are happily addictive.”
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

“Monterey…remains a standard-bearer, demonstrating the ways music and location can intoxicate the senses. Monterey's strength lies in its desire to stay current, to spotlight new artists or those whose music attracts less mainstream appeal­–an admirable practice. Experiencing it fully is a test; the indefatigable win.” –Jazz FM91 (Toronto)

“One of this year’s no-brainer highlights was a spotlight on the mysterious traveler and jazz Prometheus Wayne Shorter, riding high and sounding amazing in his 80th birthday year.” –Santa Barbara Independent

“Minnesota's Davina & The Vagabonds…treated a standing-room-only crowd at the Garden Stage with a lively 90 minutes of ragtime, boogie woogie and New Orleans jazz Sunday night. The singer/pianist and her band were easily among the breakout stars at this year's festival.” –Monterey County Herald

“Diana [Krall] has had a magical relationship with Monterey, dating back to her debut there at MJF 40. She retains the ability to take nearly forgotten material from decades past and bring it to life…her diversity is startling, or would be if she didn’t pull it off so effortlessly. It is hard to imagine another vocalist who has that kind of range today, and can do it all so movingly.” –International Review of Music

“Dr. Lonnie Smith’s trio, a wonderfully organic threesome…went blissfully beyond the curfew boundaries late on Sunday night, keeping the festival torch burning after many had hit the road. The good Dr., and the Monterey muse, just wasn’t ready to call it quits yet.” –JazzTimes

Click here for extensive coverage of the Monterey Jazz Festival
55th Anniversary Tour (January-April, 2013).

2012 Quotes:

“The 55th annual Monterey festival was a strong one, maybe most notable for its giving expression to a new generation of players. They may not be famous – yet. But they are coming into their prime and advancing this tradition.” – San Jose Mercury News

“Stylistically, fans feasted on everything from a lyrical festival commission by Seattle guitarist Bill Frisell to the finger-popping swing of Tony Bennett and Dee Dee Bridgewater.” – Seattle Times

“[Gregory Porter] was a revelation, an inspiration and one of my favorite artists of the entire weekend.” – bebopified.com

“[Tony Bennett] still has the volume, the chops, the exquisite phrasing, the charisma, and the heart to sing a big show in the open air before an adoring audience. When he stepped on stage, a woman beside me said, “I think I might cry,” then did. He gave us 90 minutes of greatness.”
bebopified.com

Randolph and his tight funky band ripped into a furious funk workout, "Work It to the Bone," to end their festival debut, one that will rank along with Trombone Shorty's two years ago as one of the most memorable in festival history.” – Monterey County Herald

By the time [Trombone Shorty] was finished the audience didn't know which way was up, except for the screaming F-16 Thunderbirds that buzzed the arena a few times. ‘Can you feel it Monterey? Can you feel it?’ Well, if you couldn't, you were either a.) Not in the arena, or b.) Seriously in need of professional help. – Monterey County Herald

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival is an Olympian feast, with just about everything you can imagine, from the blasting steel pedal of Robert Randolph to the nuanced guitar of Mimi Fox, the cult-like dominance of Trombone Shorty to the indomitable Tony Bennett.” – International Review of Music

“…the most striking aspect was this year’s abundance of younger talent. The jazz mainstream spends a lot of time lionizing the past and fretting about the future, but this year’s festival felt like a passing of the torch — or perhaps more accurately, an embracing of today’s young artists as the continuation of the jazz tradition.” – jazzobserver.com

“…this festival, spread out over multiple stages on the Monterey County Fairgrounds over the third weekend of September, is an all-American and global treasure.” – JazzTimes

“Doing the math, in fact, the very word “Monterey,” as name, place, festival paradigm, have been integral to what jazz is about for roughly half its life so far.” – JazzTimes

“The arena hosted adoring audiences for one of the strongest bills of the jazz festival season. Tony Bennett proved once more that age is but a number.” – DownBeat

“Last month, DeJohnette turned 70, which seems impossible. I was seated in the front row; it was like tumbling through a jet-stream.” – San Jose Mercury News

2011 Quotes:

“Rollins could have been an emblem of the Monterey Jazz Festival itself —which combined historic wisdom and youthful zest.” – Seattle Times

“A strong focus on female composers and bandleaders was the hallmark and highlight of the weekend,but only one aspect of a diverse roster that spanned genres and generations, opening with one of the music’s brightest young stars in Robert Glasper, closing with one of its mightiest veterans in Sonny Rollins.” – Jazz Observer

This is a full-service, style-inclusive festival—still the best in the west and probably the best American festival overall…” – JazzTimes

“Saturday at the Monterey Jazz Festival was a journey through eras, river basins, continents, climate zones, you name it.”  – International Review of Music

“The people who come here like this vibe, and follow this music enough to plan their whole vacations around it. There's a real loyalty to this whole experience. Not just gorging yourself on music, but being able to eat in the food court with Gerald Wilson or Poncho Sanchez.”  – National Public Radio’s A Blog Supreme

“…the performances by Richard Bona/Raul Midon and India.Arie/Idan Raichel demonstrated a wider net than the usual predominant Latin jazz subset, and it was refreshing to experience the embracing collaborations between different cultures, a theme worth its weight in gold.”  – Monterey County Herald

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival…a potent cultural institution, on the West Coast and in the world.” – Santa Barbara Independent

“…the best weekend of jazz you're ever going to witness.” – Monterey County Herald

“…this weekend’s festival was a joy, if an exhausting one – a 53-hour infusion of music…” – San Jose Mercury News

“Long live Monterey!” – Sonny Rollins

2010 Quotes:

“The Monterey Jazz Festival…is the prevailing anchor for West Coast jazz pride.” -- New York Times

"Monterey cemented its place as one of the premier jazz festivals in the world." -- JazzTimes

“...the best outdoor jazz festival in the nation, bar none…it feels like a mini-lifetime crammed into less than three days.” -- San Jose Mercury News

“The 53rd annual Monterey Jazz Festival...has been nothing less than jazz nirvana.” -- Oakland Tribune

“Years from now, there will be about 100,000 folks all claiming they were there when Trombone Shorty kicked some major tail at the Monterey Jazz Festival. But only a few thousand will be telling the truth. You know who you are…one of the most satisfying of Monterey's festivals I've attended over the past three decades." -- Monterey County Herald

“Roy Haynes…leapt out to steal the show at the very end, bashing away at a lengthy drum solo…When he ended, just at the stroke of midnight, the applause was thunderous.” -- jazzobserver.com

“Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews was clearly this year’s big, emergent star. The artists featured on Saturday’s lineup were part of that [straight-ahead] tradition, but conversant in many others — blues, hip-hop, world music, gospel, even noise.” -- East Bay Express

“There’s only one word to describe Dianne Reeves’ performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival: spectacular.” -- blogmonterey.com

“Certainly the emphasis of Monterey Jazz is on the excellent music, but there’s more to the festival than that. It’s a consistent and reliable celebration of the human spirit, camaraderie and joie de vivre that’s more than welcome in our trying times.” -- examiner.com

“The Monterey Jazz Festival is the West Coast equivalent of a jazz Stonehenge.” -- Good Times Santa Cruz

2009 Quotes:

“Once again, the festival organizers have brought together fantastic music and a warm community atmosphere for an experience that will be remembered for years to come…there’s no place like Monterey.”
-- Jazzobserver.com

“If anyone thought that having Pete Seeger at a jazz festival was a bit odd…they surely changed their tune after the 90-year-old folk icon's immensely entertaining and emotional show in the main arena. I haven't seen that kind of response from an audience in many years. In fact, I can't recall an audience getting up en masse and clapping AND singing along to any other performer.” -- Monterey County Herald

“…what Monterey proves each year is that the ‘jazz era’ is ongoing. [Wynton] Marsalis is one of the really ecstatic and charismatic improvisers of recent decades...to hear him and [the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra]…it felt great…you could hear a pin drop in the arena…” -- San Jose Mercury News

“…the music is alive and thriving…This uplifting message was solidly delivered in Monterey this year…jazz’s death has been greatly exaggerated.” -- Santa Barbara Independent

“The weather changed on the hour and the music was just as eclectic… [Dee Dee Bridgewater’s set] is one of those Monterey shows that will go down in the history books.” -- Jazz.com

“…the most exciting opening night of a festival I can remember…”
-- International Review of Music

2008 Quotes:

“[The] Monterey Jazz Festival was a knockout… rich with great performances…a dazzlingly successful event with at least half a dozen musical epiphanies…” -- San Jose Mercury News

“The lineup was tremendous, featuring just the right mix of legendary performers…” -- Oakland Tribune

“…it's really one [festival] that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Beyond the music…the vibe is like none other.” -- Contra Costa Times

“…it’s a mecca for true jazz fans…” -- San Francisco Chronicle

“…intelligence, party timing, aesthetic balance and guarded adventurism...makes this one of the great jazz fests in the world…”
-- JazzTimes

2007 Quotes:

“It's a mood, a party, a tribal gathering, an improvisation and a cultural colossus.” -- San Jose Mercury News

“Everyone--from the ticket-holders to the headliners--seemed absolutely
thrilled to be part of Monterey’s golden moment.” -- Oakland Tribune

“S’Wonderful…a smorgasbord of food and consistently good music.”
-- San Francisco Chronicle

“It’s intimate…there’s a real connection between the artists and the audience…” -- National Public Radio

“[Sonny Rollins] came out blowing and blew so hard the clouds retreated.”
-- Jazzpolice.com

2006 Quotes:

“[McCoy Tyner’s] Saturday night set was unstoppable…” -- San Jose Mercury News

“[Dave Brubeck’s ‘Cannery Row Suite’]…was a thrill to experience…”
-- Monterey County Herald

“[Dianne Reeves] gave one of the greatest performances of her life.”
-- soundsoftimelessjazz.com

“Monterey…is everything great about jazz…” -- Santa Cruz Sentinel

“…everybody's favorite jazz festival.” -- San Jose Mercury News

“…one of the best overall in recent memory.” -- Monterey County Herald

“…this was a great year for Monterey.” -- Seattle Times

“Monterey…an inspiration for hundreds of jazz festivals around the world.” -- CNN

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