Upcoming Festival to Be His Final Programming Effort for Iconic Jazz Institution


MONTEREY, Calif. (January 31, 2023) – Tim Jackson, Artistic Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival announced today that the 2023 Monterey Jazz Festival will be his last as artistic director and he will be leaving his position at the end of February in 2024. He will then continue as an artistic advisor for an interim time prior to departing the organization in an official capacity. The announcement will bring to a close a dynamic chapter in an ongoing stellar career, as Jackson is only the second artistic director in the festival’s history. He joined the organization in 1991 and took over the general manager role from festival founder Jimmy Lyons in 1992.

“I feel that this a good time for a transition. The organization is stabilizing after the pandemic, the staff and board are strong and committed, and it is time for a new perspective on the artistic side to help guide the organization for the next generation. 2023 will mark my 33rd festival and I will have been with the organization for a half of its 66 years. It has been a great run!” Jackson stated.

An active musician since his teens, Jackson got his start in music production at age 19 at Half Moon Bay’s Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society working under the direction of Pete Douglas. In 1975, he co-founded the Kuumbwa Jazz Society in Santa Cruz, California, a nonprofit jazz organization that presents jazz year-round at the legendary Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Since joining the festival in 1991, Jackson is credited with revitalizing and widening the Monterey Jazz Festival’s musical spectrum and expanding the educational components to new heights. Jackson also returned to the artistic vision of the festival’s early days by reinstating an Artist-in-Residence and commissioning program that continue to this day. Recognized as one of the world’s finest jazz festivals, projects under Jackson’s leadership include the restoration and digitization of the festival’s extensive 65-year audio/video archive housed at Stanford University, and the establishment of Monterey Jazz Festival Records for the festival’s golden anniversary in 2007. The label won a GRAMMY in 2009 for their release Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival by the MJF50 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. The MJF on Tour concept, which grew out of the 50th anniversary year, has continued with regularity with national tours happening in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and a new tour in 2023 featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Christian Sands, Lakecia Benjamin, Yasushi Nakamura, and Clarence Penn.

“Tim’s legacy will be tied to his steadfast commitment to the jazz genre, and for delivering an artistic program that consistently delighted even the most discerning jazz audiences. He has left an indelible mark on the Monterey Jazz Festival and on the jazz world,” said Colleen Bailey, the festival’s executive director.

An international search is currently underway to fulfill the role of artistic director for the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The 66th Monterey Jazz Festival happens September 22–24, 2023 at the Monterey Fairgrounds in Monterey, California and will be a joyous sendoff for Jackson. The festival weekend kicks off with a gala benefit celebrating his illustrious career and immeasurable contributions to the festival and to the jazz community.


For a full bio and high-resolution images of Tim Jackson, click here. All photos courtesy of Monterey Jazz Festival.

Lauren Tobin
Director of Media and Strategic Relations
Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct: (831) 233-3711