Monterey >> Most people who enjoy coming to hear all the strains of jazz music programmed over the third full weekend in September every year at the iconic Monterey Jazz Festival come with the mind that Friday is when the action really gets started. Anticipation and pre-planning for meeting friends and family may get taken care of earlier in the week, but most folks show up at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center right around 6 p.m. when the gates opened Friday.
Greeting them at the Jazz Education Stage at the fairgrounds west end for this 60th anniversary year was the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Combo, followed at 6:30 p.m. on the Garden Stage by Ray Obiedo Latin Jazz Project. The tone’s been set, the evening’s show has begun, and before you know it, the music unfolds, time has raced by, and it’s already time to hit the pillow. Or hit the after party at the Monterey Hyatt jam session and hang. The unofficial festival headquarters offers late night music jams hosted by house jazzman David Morwood and his core band, with any number of festival jazz artists who call the Hyatt home for the duration of their stay welcome to join in the musical interaction.
The fleeting nature of the first night is most often owed to the elation felt to be back in the embracing arms of the fairgrounds where jazz loving friends made through the years have reconnected to their MJF jazz family. Of course, for local high school students, their teachers and parents and a few local denizens, Thursday is the true starting line.
Artistic director Tim Jackson took the stage on Thursday to welcome the cadre of students…
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