Quotes from the Press


“The 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival will go down in the history books as perhaps the first to navigate the slippery slope of big change with a strong focus on new generations of listeners. The arc stretched wide, with funky electric styles, big band jazz, classic piano-led ensembles, world music, contemporary jazz and beyond. There literally was something for everyone.” –Monterey Herald

“…Tim Jackson has created an important festival entity, which manages to capture an overview of a music which is less a specific or demographically-limited idiom, but a diversified musical world, ever in motion. Monterey continues to be a go-to press report zone on the state of jazz.” –All About Jazz

Monterey Jazz Festival has so much else to offer, from yummy food options to fun shopping and a warm and friendly atmosphere that is unparalleled among big music events…It was a terrific start to one of the best weekends of the year.”” –San Jose Mercury News

“One of the most interesting parts of the Monterey Jazz Festival is its willingness for experimentation. While there are still plenty of traditional straight-ahead jazz acts—like that of Kenny Barron and Dave Holland’s piano and acoustic bass duo in Dizzy’s Den on Saturday night, which gave the audience a softer, timeless jazz club feel—many younger artists are bringing different sounds to their sets.” –Monterey County Weekly

“Monterey has a gift for catching giants at the height of their powers. Pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland (with drummer Nasheet Waits) played with a flow so organic it erased the distinction between “straight-ahead” and “free-improvised” jazz. Diana Krall turned in an extraordinary yet subdued performance Friday notable for its melancholy mood…” –Seattle Times

“The Miller-Hodge [Mary Lou Williams] project represented a philosophy of marrying tradition and new expression, and increasingly MJF is breaking down boundaries by presenting risk-taking artists who are resolute in evolving the music.” –DownBeat

The season’s programming was built on a redoubtable foundation with artists-in-residence drummer Allison Miller and bassist/producer Derrick Hodge. They both performed in several disparate settings, but their collaborative Mary Lou Williams tribute on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the main arena kicked off the festival with a stellar only-in-Monterey moment.” –JazzTimes

“…the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival exemplified all of the festival’s multifarious strengths and its newfound leadership in programmatic gender equity…” –San Francisco Classical Voice

"If one were to try and see as many different acts as possible throughout the three-day event, what comes through is the impact of jazz on many genres, and the versatility of the players in these groups." –DRUM! Magazine


“…socially and demographically, Monterey delivered something truly new, and it was glorious to behold. It wasn’t so much the profusion of stellar women players as the fecund diversity in visions of bandleaders, composers, and arrangers.” –San Francisco Classical Voice

“More than 50 percent of the Monterey festival program this year boasted women leaders or side players.” –Seattle Times

“There were enough noteworthy features at Monterey this year to fill at least two JazzTimes 10 lists…” –JazzTimes

“To say there were exceptional moments is an understatement. Dianne Reeves pulled out all the stops, Charles Lloyd and group delighted, Oscar Hernandez and Spanish Harlem Orchestra wowed, Fred Hersch was sublime, Bill Frisell a wonder. I can’t say enough about the overall vibe of joy and discovery that took place this last weekend.” –Monterey County Herald

“At the Monterey Jazz Festival, there is no need for debate. For more than 60 years, it’s simply been about music that moves people.” –Monterey County Weekly

“The bundle of talent in [Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour] is extraordinary...It may be a stretch to say that jazz’s salvation lies with an international young group like this, but what a role model it is.” –Classical Voice North America

“Festival veteran Dianne Reeves—MJF’s jazz legend award winner this year—swept away the audience with her Sept. 21 opening-night spotlight at the big stage.” -–DownBeat

“Monterey's busy programming grid, running from early Friday evening through Sunday before midnight, can be an embarrassment of riches—and was, this year.” –All About Jazz

“One of the most dynamic aspects of the festival was the presence of young students who will carry on the tradition. The MJF's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, considered by some the best high school all-star jazz big band in America, wowed a Sunday Arena crowd.” –Monterey County Weekly

“If one ever has doubts about the health of the current modern jazz scene, a visit to the Monterey Jazz Festival is the perfect antidote.” –New York Jazz Record

"It was quite a festival, leaving one with the feeling that not only are there an unlimited number of talented female jazz artists but that the artistic state of the current jazz scene is very healthy.” –LA Jazz Scene


“A lot of events talk about creating a “big tent,” but Monterey not only puts up the tent, but has learned to help everyone get along inside of it.” —DownBeat

“…another jaw-dropping lineup.” —San Jose Mercury News

“It’s a vibe and a party, a rainbow tribal gathering, an ongoing improvisation, and a cultural force. Despite widespread imitation across the United States, Asia, and Europe, the event retains a special status that was reaffirmed Sept. 15–17…” —San Francisco Classical Voice

“…Monterey creates a free-flowing dialogue between musicians and eras…and the cross-generational talk between various stages and venues grew richer as the weekend progressed, climaxing with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea’s transporting and deeply playful piano duo in the Main Arena.” —JazzTimes

“…this was a marvelous year. Crowds were up, according to artistic director Tim Jackson, who proudly noted a special “family feeling” on the fairgrounds that is unique to Monterey.” —Seattle Times

“...this year’s edition is blowing the roof off when it comes to heartfelt performances.” —Monterey County Herald

"[Joel] Frahm’s quartet plays all six [Captain Marvel] tunes without interruption, trying to recapture the feeling of listening to the album. From the opening notes of “La Fiesta,” the enthusiasm is evident; Erskine and Colley seem almost gleeful about re-capturing the feeling of presenting this music for the first time. I have listened to this album untold times, never imagining I would ever get a chance to hear the material performed in this manner. It is a bravura performance, one of those magical things that the Monterey Jazz Festival does to bring me back every year. Overall, it caps a wonderful opening night to MJF 60."   —International Review of Music

“Six decades is a lot of music to remember and pay tribute to, but the Monterey Jazz Festival pulled it off in style this past weekend.” —Monterey County Weekly

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival has always had a knack for drawing on its own history…When the nation’s longest consecutively-running jazz festival returns to the fairgrounds for the 60th season this weekend, Sept. 15-17, its storied past will be very much part of the present.” —KQED

“A major work was born on the Lyons stage that evening, a 40-minute MJF-commissioned world premiere by John Clayton…Stories of a Groove…You didn’t have to read any specific political details into the piece in order to sense the passion in its marching party grooves or marvel how its complex, diverse structure held together.” —Classical Voice North America

“One of the most inspiring programming features of the 2017 was a family affair and focus of the sweetest and deserving kind. Pianist Gerald Clayton, one of the festival's artists-in-residence, appeared multiple times, and with just the right approach in each setting.” —All About Jazz

“Common, who featured MJF Next Generation Jazz Orchestra alumnus Elena Pinderhughes on flute and vocals, delivered the kind of riveting set that has won him millions of fans from outside the hip-hop world…Common acknowledged the presence of Herbie Hancock, who was seated in the front boxes. Hancock clapped—and at times even danced—enthusiastically and approvingly at the end of the charismatic musician/author/actor’s main-stage performance Sunday afternoon.”  —DownBeat

“There is so much going on throughout the September [Monterey Jazz Festival] weekend, which is overflowing with high-quality jazz, that one largely invents their own jazz festival. One could easily experience three separate jazz festivals at Monterey without any duplication.” —LA Jazz Scene

"...the surprise hit of the 60th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival was an obscure band from Colombia called Monsieur Periné — a large ensemble from Bogota, playing a kind of gypsy jazz with strange, compelling rhythms. Hearing this exuberant group was like stumbling out of a South American jungle into a small Colombian village, having a few beers, and dancing the night away with the prettiest girl there." —Marina Times

"If you’re looking for hope, buy a Saturday grounds pass to the next jazz festival. It is the most seamless, effortless example of how people of different races, genders, ages and backgrounds commune with each other. It is without question the most diverse audience I experience in Monterey County, and, it is so comfortable. When I stroll the grounds of the jazz festival, my first reaction is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. My second is a desire to have this experience somehow transported into the consciousness of all the people who feel so threatened by diverse communities."   —Dan Baldwin, Community Foundation for Monterey County President's Blog


“Jazz festivals just don’t get any better than Monterey.” —San Jose Mercury News

“[Quincy] Jones, 83, could be seen all over the grounds over the sunny weekend, drinking in the music. [His] positive, ebullient energy spilled over to the festival…a weekend that will be remembered as one of the festival’s finest.” —Seattle Times

The greatest jazz festival in the world happens in our backyard.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the highlights of the 59th annual Monterey Jazz Festival was the big band-heavy Tribute to Quincy Jones…Jones—and his distinguished bearded visage—was seemingly omnipresent.” —DownBeat

“There was great music in every nook and cranny of the fairground…the festival’s long running success is this: the sense of family that engulfs you from the moment you step foot onto the fairgrounds.”  —Huffington Post

“…a dazzling theme park of jazz and related forms of American Music.” —Santa Cruz Sentinel

“The storied Monterey Jazz Festival is a mecca for aspiring jazz musicians and seasoned veterans alike, and the fairgrounds becomes a surprisingly divine place for one weekend a year. Monterey Jazz will surprise and delight.” —Monterey County Weekly

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival is all about the family feeling there is among the principal players responsible for its smooth unfolding…Everyone is family at the Monterey Jazz Festival if you really think about it.” —Monterey County Herald

“…Monterey Jazz Festival once again delivered on its promise to bring a stylistic plethora and pageantry…[To] wrap up the festival in a circus-like burst of virtuosity and friendly grandstanding, the genuinely remarkable young Brit Jacob Collier proved the most self-reliant and athletic of performers all weekend.” —Allaboutjazz.com

“...[Bill] Frisell…On purely musical terms, it was the clear highlight of the festival, and one of the purest listening experiences of my life.” —No Depression

“…there was an undeniably strong accent on emerging, creatively restless and abundantly gifted young artists. Joey Alexander, the stunning and already well-established 13-year-old Indonesia-born pianist…[his] trio set drew a larger crowd to the Garden Stage than I have ever seen in my decades as a Monterey-goer. —DownBeat

“[Christian] McBride pulled together a supremely satisfying [Tribute to Quincy Jones] set, with John Clayton conducting the 20-piece Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra and a host of sensational guests…flutist Hubert Laws played with steely authority…Pianist Don Grusin sounded crisp and incisive, but the revelation was vocalist Valerie Simpson. Vocalists provided many of the weekend’s most dramatic thrills.” —JazzTimes

“Joshua Redman…performed with a different group each of the three nights. Redman, who always displays a relatively mellow tone even when he is on an adventurous flight, never coasts or rests on his laurels, consistently playing unpredictable ideas.” —LA Jazz Scene

“…one of the best lineups in recent memory. Friday night at the arena’s Jimmy Lyons Stage…rates on the short list of best nights in the 20 years I’ve attended the festival.” —International Review of Music


“The No. 1 attraction on opening night -- if not the entire festival -- was ‘Jaco's World: A Celebration of the Music of Jaco Pastorius’ …The music was bold and beautiful, with a dash of daring for proper seasoning.” –Jim Harrington, San Jose Mercury News

Chris Botti, whose band nearly ushered in Monday morning on the Jimmy Lyons Stage, walked out during part of his set and played to audience members as vocalist Sy Smith serenaded a different part of the crowd on the arena floor. His big sounding nonet is perfectly suited for large outdoor settings, and its energy concluded the weekend with a buzz.” –Yoshi Kato, SFGate.com

“…this one seemed to have it all — bluegrass (the Brothers Comatose) an abundance of gifted bass players, tributes to greats like [Jaco] Pastorius and [Clark] Terry, birthdays, unique pairings (Corea-Fleck), a band that features banjo, accordion and tuba (Musette Explosion), a bevy of great females vocalists, and on and on. An embarrassment of riches, really.” –Mac McDonald, Monterey County Herald

“Monterey, we’re back!’’ Shorty (a.k.a. Troy Andrews) shouted, to much love from the crowd on the warm September afternoon, as a group of Festival regulars with multi-colored umbrellas did their own version of line dancing down the aisles. Finishing with a bravura cadenza of an impossibly extended trumpet solo, Shorty had the crowd collectively holding its breath...” –Paul Wilner, No Depression

[Ambrose Akimusire’s] The Forgotten Places on an early Saturday evening audience in the arena…emerged intricate, melodic, innovative and entrancing.” –Walter Ryce, Monterey County Weekly

Dianne Reeves, queen of vocal jazz, had thousands literally lighting up the night with cellphone lights on a compelling ballad and sighing happily on each number sang in her basement-level baritone to third-octave soprano voice.” – Imani Tate, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Of all the festivals I have attended…this is by far the most welcoming and accessible. At the same time, it remains a well-respected hub of the bleeding edge of jazz music today. This is definitely the place to go if you are either completely inexperienced with jazz and want to learn more, or if you’re a seasoned expert.” –James Shrieve, SF Bands and Music Magazine

“…the festival, under inspired artistic director Tim Jackson's wise, idiomatically ecumenical watch, is a fine model of how to present a jazz festival which pays respects to all the many branches and legacies of jazz, from the historicist perspective to more adventurous artists on the current scene.” –Joe Woodard, Allaboutjazz.com

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival endures as a gathering place for the greats.” –Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle

“...one of the genre's most beloved and globally praised annual events…” –Jim Harrington, San Jose Mercury News


“Last weekend’s Monterey Jazz Festival was yet another reason the event remains one of the art form’s true standard bearers. [O]ne could experience past, present and future over the course of three days, including several hybridized shades, and the sense of interconnectedness was quite palpable.”  –Willard Jenkins, The Independent Ear

“…the festival’s 57th edition this past weekend felt like a watershed. Saturday night’s arena headliner was a jazz-influenced hip-hop act, The Roots, which topped a thematic through-line of contemporary African-American music that placed the festival firmly in the present. It was a meaty, satisfying lineup.” –Paul de Barros, Seattle Times

“It only takes one time to fall in love with the music, the ambience, and the setting...the perfect MJF experience lies somewhere between adhering to a schedule and hanging loose.” –Pamela Espeland, Bebopified.com

 “What a tradition, the Monterey Jazz Festival. You walk through those gates, and it feels like home, every time.” –Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

“…the Monterey Jazz Festival…triumphed as a study in artistic contrasts. Saturday night exemplified the diversity of expression at Monterey this year. At Dizzy’s Den, the Philadelphia Experiment served up a hefty slab of spontaneous jazz-funk. An hour later in the Arena, Billy Childs premiered his sublimely melodic Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro project…Childs has played Monterey frequently and scored commissioned pieces for the festival, but his effervescent Nyro tribute proved to be his best outing yet…” –Dan Ouellette, DownBeat

“The Monterey Jazz Festival has managed to reflect the vastness of jazz, from its most accessible and party-ambience-suitable to at least relative abstraction and outer limits."  –Josef Woodard, allaboutjazz.com

“…we were exposed to such a saturation of talent just walking from venue to venue or vendor to vendor, that it felt like our souls were getting over-full from a feast…”  –Walter Ryce, Monterey County Weekly

“…The Roots, which in my eyes and ears was hands-down the finest, most memorable performance of not just this year, but of the last dozen years. In fact, I can't recall another performance in my 30-plus years I have been covering the festival that was more exciting, energized, provocative, ear-opening, and yes, controversial, than Saturday night's hour-long set by this band of supremely talented musicians.”  –Mac McDonald, Monterey County Herald

Gary Clark Jr. hit the stage, reminding folks how the sheer power of guitar can make performances legendary. As the western Texas native began his set, it was apparent that the stoic sea of baby boomers were unfamiliar with his sound. Arms folded, the audience looked like it was waiting for something big to happen, and during GCJ's third song, it did. The paradigm shift occurred during the bluesy "When My Train Pulls In” …it was his vicious guitar solo, filled with sliding sounds and colorful distortions, that woke everybody up. The song only lasted for eight minutes, but that was enough time to make everyone who saw him on stage a believer. The rest of set was met with cheers and standing ovations.” –Sam Frank, Unrated Magazine

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

"...this festival is both a cultural treasure and a place to get your groove on."
–Sachyn Mital, PopMatters.com

"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


"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).


“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.”

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


“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


“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


“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


“[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


“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


“[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