Sunday afternoon at the MJF is traditionally the domain of a dizzying wealth of young jazz ensembles – really young jazz ensembles. The winners of the MJF-sponsored high-school jazz competition (held every year in the Spring) take over the stages. More than a few of the Festival headliners were first heard in Monterey in the prize-winning school groups. (Moreover, supporting jazz education is the commercial raison d’être of the festival.)
As I write, the prize-winning Los Angeles County High School for the Arts band, under the direction of Jason Goldman, has taken the arena stage. Before long, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will be joined by Artist-in-Residence Ambrose Akinmusire. Over at the Night Club stage, a succession of High School ensembles provide the music.
The headliner of the afternoon line-up is Grammy winning superstar Esperanza Spalding, who takes to the arena stage (and the airwaves of KUSP 88.9 FM) at 2:40 p.m. Stay tuned!