Monterey Jazz: The MJF Dilemma

One of the Monterey Jazz Festival posters on display at MJF, 2007.

The 58th Annual Monterey Jazz festival starts Friday.

As I’ve been counting down to MJF with some of my favorite images from festivals past, I’ve also been thinking about what’s on the menu this year. Here are some of my Must Sees for for this year’s festival:

Chick Corea: The legend. Played with Miles Davis, Return to Forever (several versions). Five Peace Band. Solos, Duets. Trios. Chick Corea and his RTF band was one of my first jazz-rock concerts and first bands to write about during my college journalism days. I’ve seen him play several times since the 1970s and even got to interview him once for the radio. Now it’s finally time to take his picture!

Jaco’s World: This big band tribute to the late bass player/composer Jaco Pastorius should be one to remember. To my knowledge, Weather Report was never even invited to play at Monterey. Not straight ahead enough for the MJF tastemakers at the time, I suppose. Now some of that super group’s Jaco-driven tunes are likely to pump through the night air from the Arena stage and all will be well. A couple of Weather Report alum — Peter Erskine and Alex Acuna — are in the line-up along with Jaco’s son Felix.

Trombone Shorty: Guess I can now say “I remember when” Troy Andrews played small clubs like Harlow’s in Sacramento. Now his “supa-funk-rock” is arena-only material! Great showman and fun to photograph. If any band is likely to lead a New Orleans second line parade through the crowd, this is the one.

Wynton Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Terence Blanchard are also on my must see list, plus lots more acts like bluesman Lucky Peterson, and soulman Sonny Knight, among others.

Now,  if I can just figure out how to be in three places at once, I will have it dialed.

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