Our mission is to inspire the discovery and celebration of jazz, anchored by an iconic festival.
We envision a sustainable organization that sets the standard of excellence for jazz, connects a diverse community, and helps people appreciate and learn about jazz as fans and performers.
A love for jazz | Innovation and Creativity | Diversity and Inclusiveness | Professionalism and Excellence | Honesty and Integrity | Collaboration | Respect and Dignity | Flexible and Open | Financially Responsible | Fun
Jazz sits within American culture as a singular and distinctive art form. It has been created by, perpetuated by, and anchored in Black voices and culture. Having begun presenting jazz in 1958, Monterey Jazz Festival has led the world in supporting and advocating for this legendary art form. Entwined in this story are two realities. Jazz has historically shuttered participation by women. Monterey Jazz Festival audiences have largely consisted of white males, due to geography and the fact that Black and female audiences have not been cultivated and maintained. To be on the path of diversity, equity, and inclusion these realities must be addressed in the policies and practices of Monterey Jazz Festival. As leaders in the field, to make change, we will look to these truths. We affirm our commitment to continuing to question our role within this important community of artists, to create innovative and accessible education and music programs that expand who experiences, performs, and receives this beautiful music.
The Monterey Jazz Festival takes its inspiration from the ethos of jazz and derives its strength from the diversity and inclusion inherent in the art form. We strive to reflect these values both on and off the bandstand, and in every aspect of the organization—the Board, professional staff and employees, volunteers, vendors, artists, students, donors, and attendees.
Since the beginning, the Monterey Jazz Festival has been committed to presenting, nurturing and celebrating all jazz artists. To this end, Monterey Jazz Festival has adopted the We Have Voice Collective code of conduct. This code is about ensuring safe spaces for all musicians, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture, etc. to work and perform in – something we strive towards every day at Monterey Jazz Festival, and an initiative we are proud to support.
Tim Jackson, Artistic Director
Laura Zehm, President | Ken Gordon, Chair Elect | Mimi Hahn, Secretary | Howard Fisher, Treasurer | Letty Ledbetter, Member-at-large | Colleen Bailey | Kevin Cartwright | Sherol Chen, PhD | Clint Eastwood | Tom LaFaille | Peter Orr | Cydney Payton | Sharon Wesley, MD | Larry Williams | Lori Ella Miller | Mike Knapek
Jackson Booth | Jim Costello | Michael Fields | Ewalker James | Terry O’Connor
A native of Monterey County, Bailey has a long history of leadership in the nonprofit and education sectors. Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the National Steinbeck Center. Under her leadership, the Center took over the operation of Sherwood Hall, the largest performing arts venue in Monterey County and developed a new performing arts series, which earned her the title of “Newsmaker of the Year” by the Salinas Californian. She was a founding board member, and the Executive Director of the Youth Orchestra of Salinas (YoSal), an El Sistema-modeled music program in Salinas. Bailey was also an award-winning arts educator and administrator in schools in Colorado, and Central and Southern California.
A graduate of the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, Bailey holds an undergraduate degree from USC, a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a Certificate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Center for Social Innovation.
Jackson was named General Manager of the Festival in 1992, when he took over the duties of programming the legendary event from its retiring founder, Jimmy Lyons. He became Artistic Director in 2011. Credited with revitalizing and widening the Monterey Jazz Festival’s musical spectrum, expanding the educational components to new heights, Jackson returned to the artistic vision of the Festival’s early days by reinstating an Artist-In-Residence and commissioning program. Monterey has consistently been named one of the top three jazz festivals in world by readers of JazzTimes Magazine, winning the top spot in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016. Projects under Jackson’s leadership include the restoration and digitization of the Festival’s extensive audio archive collection housed at Stanford University, and the establishment of Monterey Jazz Festival Records (in partnership with Concord Records) for the Festival’s 50th anniversary in 2007. The label won a GRAMMY in 2009 for their release Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival by the MJF/50 All-Stars, which featured Terence Blanchard (the Festival’s 2007 Artist-in-Residence), NEA Jazz Master James Moody, Nnenna Freelon, Benny Green, Kendrick Scott, and Derrick Hodge.
Jackson has served as Artistic Director for Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour. These five tours in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2019 have performed to over 115,000 fans in 60 cities in 22 states. Artists featured have been: Ambrose Akinmusire, Melissa Aldana, Kenny Barron, Johnathan Blake, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Regina Carter, Gerald Clayton, Ravi Coltrane, Kurt Elling, Nnenna Freelon, Benny Green, Derrick Hodge, Gregory Hutchinson, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Raul Midón, James Moody, Yasushi Nakamura, Lewis Nash, Nicholas Payton, Chris Potter, Jamison Ross, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian Sands, Joe Sanders, Kendrick Scott, and Bria Skonberg.
Born in San Jose, California, and a flutist since his teens, Jackson got his start in music production at age 19 at Half Moon Bay’s Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. He also co-founded and is Artistic Director of the nonprofit Kuumbwa Jazz, presenting live jazz and educational events in Santa Cruz, since 1975.
Other activities Jackson has produced for MJF include two published books, including 1997’s Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years and 2007’s The Art of Jazz: Monterey Jazz Festival / 50 Years.
Jazz impresario and disc jockey Jimmy Lyons presents pianist Erroll Garner as an installment of his ongoing Jazz at the Sunset concert series in Carmel. A confiscated bootleg recording of the show is released as "Concert by the Sea" and becomes one of the best-selling albums of the era.
At Doc Ricketts’ Lab on Cannery Row (now known as the Pacific Biological Laboratories), members invite Jimmy Lyons to discuss the idea about a jazz festival in Monterey. Jimmy raises the money through $100 donations.
Jimmy Lyons and jazz critic Ralph Gleason present the inaugural Monterey Jazz Festival, October 3-5. The festival is founded as a non-profit. Among the performers were Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Cal Tjader, Harry James, and Billie Holiday, her only MJF performance.
MJF is moved to the third full weekend in September. Performers include Ornette Coleman, Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, and many others. Duke Ellington premieres “Suite Thursday” and Jon Hendricks premieres "Evolution of the Blues Song."
Dave Brubeck premieres "The Real Ambassadors" with Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae. Quincy Jones and Stan Getz make their first MJF appearances.
Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk make their first MJF appearances.
John Handy records "Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival" and Mary Lou Williams makes her first of three MJF appearances.
The Jefferson Airplane, Muddy Waters, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Don Ellis, Randy Weston, and many others perform. Charles Lloyd records "Forest Flower" which becomes an iconic crossover hit album and features his young sidemen Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Cecil McBee.
Saturday afternoon blues show features T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Richie Havens, and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin.
Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood films part of his iconic directorial debut, "Play Misty For Me" at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
MJF presents the first annual winners of the Next Generation Jazz Festival, a student competition, and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO), a high school all-star band.
MJF25. Performers include Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez, Gerald Wilson, Cal Tjader, Etta James, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.
MJF in Noto Japan is established, and the students in the local county all-star bands and the NGJO begin to travel there annually to perform. It rains during the festival for the first time.
MJF35. Jimmy Lyons retires as General Manager, and Tim Jackson takes over as GM and Artistic Director.
The Artist-in-Residence and Commission programs are reintroduced with Bob Mintzer and James Williams acting as AIRs and Billy Childs as Commission Artist.
Joshua Redman is the first MJF jazz education alumnus to be named Artist-in-Residence.
MJF40. Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins, David Sanborn, Charlie Haden, Koko Taylor, and many others perform. The Coffee House Gallery is added as a fifth venue. A book, "Monterey Jazz Festival: Forty Legendary Years" is released along with a CD box set of archival recordings.
MJF50. Artists from the first MJF include Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Jim Hall, Ernestine Anderson, Buddy Montgomery. MJF Records is launched, featuring archive recordings from the festival and a coffee table book of artwork, "The Art of Jazz."
MJF60. Artist-in-Residence is John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Gerald Clayton, making them first parent-child AIR. John Clayton premieres "Stories of a Groove" as the MJF Commission.
Enjoy Multiple Benefits from a Variety of MJF Partnership Opportunities!
For more information about becoming a partner of the 65th annual Monterey Jazz Festival, contact Executive Director, Colleen Bailey at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.373.3368
There are many ways to partner with the Monterey Jazz Festival, from sponsoring a stage at the Festival to supporting the year-round jazz education programs.
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation / The National Endowment for the Arts / Kaiser Permanente / Alaska Airlines / Google / Taylor Farms / Montage Health / Inns of Monterey / McDonald's / Blue Note at Sea / AT&T / CSUMB / Texas Southern University / Morgan State University / Castoro Cellars / McBride Sisters / Arts Council for Monterey County / Tahoe Blue Vodka / Other Brother Beer / Alvarado Street Brewery / Okapi Wines / Steinway & Sons / DW Drums / Gretsch / Pacific Drums & Percussion / LP / Integris Wealth Management / Destination by Design / Remo / SiriusXM / DownBeat / Monterey Salinas Transit / SmoothJazz.com Global / Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary / KSBW / 90.3 KAZU / Monterey Herald / KTSU Radio