By Jeff Dayton-Johnson | KUSP – Super drummer Eric Harland will be the Artist in Residence at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival in September. In the meantime, Eric is present at the Next Generation Jazz Festival this weekend at the Monterey Conference Center. He took a moment to talk to KUSP in a far-ranging conversation that covered drummers, loud and soft, contemporary and historical, as well as the links between spirituality and music, and most important, his views on the next generation of jazz musicians — over 70 ensembles — at the Next Gen Festival.
Harland recounted some of the bands he’s currently working with, and it’s a who’s who of the most prominent and exciting jazz groups on the scene today: Prism, together with bassist Dave Holland, pianist Craig Taborn and guitarist Kevin Eubanks, a highlight of the Main Stage line-up at the 2013 MJF; and Sangham, with saxophone legend Charles Lloyd and percussionist Zakir Hussain. Not to mention his own Voyager group. If Harland can bring a small fraction of his musical associates with him to MJF in September, it will be excellent news for Festival-goers.