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The Monterey Jazz Festival


Scott M. Rifkin reporting from The Monterey Jazz Festival

What better way to spend a weekend then flying out to San Jose California; renting a car; driving down the California coast highway; spending three days listening to five hundred Jazz acts perform on five stages and getting to say hi to Clint Eastwood- trust me, I really did meet me but could not get my camera out in time for a photo opportunity.

Well for some crazy reason, I always find myself back in California at least once or twice a year.

This year was no different as I have friends living in Monterey within two blocks of the Monterey Fairgrounds where The Monterey Jazz Festival has always existed for well over fifty five years.

I started being a jazz fan when I heard MIles Davis' Bitches Brew back in the 1970s. Then I fused to The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return To Forever. This years line up at TMJF included Tony Bennett, Jack DeJohnette, Melody Cardot, Trombone Shorty, Bill Frisell, Esperanza Spalding, Pat Metheny, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Christian McBride.

But in my opinion The Los Angeles County High School For The Arts Jazz Ensemble and The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra were the best of the best.


There were certainly many jazz hybrid bands that combined jazz with blues, funk and rock. but what I found lacking, even on many of the smaller stages of the event, were straight up jazz and the avant garde.

There were very little risk takers performing at this years Monterey Jazz Festival. I wonder what Miles and Monk would have thought about these changes.


By Scott M. Rifkin

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