The first order of business Sunday afternoons at MJF is to celebrate the young cats: accordingly, the Folsom High School Jazz Band – the winning band of the 2013 competition – kicked off the Main Stage broadcasts, They are followed by the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, comprising the best high-school jazz players from around the country and led by Paul Contos, joined by Artist-in-Residence Joe Lovano. Artistic Director Tim Jackson reminded us (see his interview on this site) that alumni of the Next Generation group include Ambrose Akinmusire and Benny Green and many more. You are witnessing the jazz stars of the future when you see this band, already great jazz players today. Other award-winning high-school bands can be heard all afternoon on the Night Club.
Later this afternoon on the Jimmy Lyons Main Stage – and on KUSP 88.9 – its alto saxophone legend Dave Sanborn and pianist Bob James. Those familiar with James’s smooth-jazz records from the 1970s (he also scored the theme song to the TV show “Taxi”) will be surprised by the acoustic turn of the new Sanborn-James project. The playing of drummer Steve Gadd – a drummer’s drummer par excellence – will be another high point of the 2:30 set.