Alumni Network

"I was a member of the All-Star Band in 1999 and 2000, and I learned the true definition of compassion during my trips to Japan with the group. It was the first time in my life I saw a community of people gaining pleasure from giving. Everyone says ‘music is a universal language,’ but I really know this to be true. I met some of my closest friends during those trips to Japan. The importance of a program like this goes far beyond music and lands on humanity itself." –Ambrose Akinmusire (NGJO 1999 & 2000), trumpeter and composer

“Playing professionally at the Monterey Jazz Festival reminds me of how critical the education program was to my musical development. It allowed me to imagine what was possible in a career in jazz.” –Murray Low (NGJO 1977), pianist with the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra

“I was honored to be a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Star Band, and to get to be around some real heavyweights. Hearing all these wonderful players really showed me it was a much bigger world than I knew of.”Benny Green (NGJO 1978), pianist and composer

“When I was 15, 16, 17, I was on this stage, playing with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra]. It was just an All-State band at the time, but it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I have to say I am getting a vicarious and a direct thrill being here…It sounds so amazing. So it’s an honor to return and be with this band again.” –Ted Nash (NGJO 1975 & 1976), saxophonist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

“Leading my band at Monterey was one of the greatest moments of my life. The Festival and its education programs have inspired me to lead an exciting, fulfilling life playing and teaching this music.” –Ben Flocks (NGJO 2006) saxophonist, bandleader

“The best thing about coming back to the Festival as an alum is that I see the same folks that were there seven years ago and they still remember me. It's such a tight-knit and loving group of people, which is uncommon for an organization of that size."  –Eddie Barbash (NGJO 2006 & 2007), saxophonist with Jon Batiste & Stay Human, house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

"[Monterey Jazz Festival] is the greatest festival, for me, in the United States. The programming is so diverse…and it has really strong educational component which has grown over the years." –Donny McCaslin (NGJO 1982, 1983, 1984), saxophonist, composer, bandleader

Alumni of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s life-changing jazz education programs are proud to be part of a uniquely-shared experience and a world-class jazz institution. Whether you participated in the Monterey County High School All-Star Band, Monterey County High School Honor Vocal Ensemble, California High School All-Star Big Band (1971-2004), Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (2005-present), Summer Jazz Camp, or the Traveling Clinicians Program, we welcome you to continue your relationship with the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Here are some of the ways in which alumni like you can get involved:

  • Join the Alumni Network
  • Help tell the Monterey Jazz Festival history
  • Speak on panels at key Festival events
  • Host alumni and fan gatherings
  • Nominate an alumnus/a to receive an Alumni Award
  • Become an alumni volunteer and participate in fundraising initiatives for the Festival's jazz education programs
  • Mentor a current student
  • Support your Regional Community
  • Make an annual tax-deductible gift

To learn more about how you can serve as a representative for the Monterey Jazz Festival and encourage fellow alumni support of our activities and scholarships, call 831.373.3366, or e-mail