The 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival has come and gone, one more weekend of music and merriment to file in the list of fond jazz memories, but with a few desperate hours in the middle your friendly neighborhood Jazz Observer would just as soon forget. Luckily Sunday’s website outage had only a limited impact on coverage, and overall it was a grand time.
A strong focus on female composers and bandleaders was the hallmark and highlight of the weekend, but only one aspect of a diverse roster that spanned genres and generations, opening with one of the music’s brightest young stars in Robert Glasper, closing with one of its mightiest veterans in Sonny Rollins.
Here are the memories I’ll take with me:
A tough list this year, with two real standouts and a whole bunch of performances that were all about even in my mind, very fine but not quite great. Ask me tomorrow and #3–5 might be completely different.
- Tia Fuller Quartet
- An Afternoon in Tremé
- Helen Sung Trio
- Robert Glasper Trio
- Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Not taking better precautions against website disaster. Also missing sets by Carmen Souza and Herbie Hancock among others, and not sticking around long enough to review Scott Colley.
“We got time for one more before we call it a night. Let’s just call this the encore.”
– Joey DeFrancesco
“I’ve always been afraid someday I’d make that mistake.”
– Joshua Redman, after accidentally calling it the Montreal Jazz Festival
“Whatever you’re doing, if you’re doing it in New Orleans, it’s got to be funky.”
– Wendell Pierce, introducing Dumpstaphunk
“We found this next tune on a transcription record, Gene Autry meets Charlie Parker. Hey, it could have happened. Probably did.”
– Bruce Forman