From April 8-10, 2016, 1300+ of America’s top student musicians will converge for another edition of the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival (NGJF). This prestigious event, showcasing some of our best up and coming jazz talent, will begin with the Opening Night Judges Contest and VIP Reception. Following we’ll share with you details of opening night, along with various other notes to entice you.

At 7:30 p.m. on April 8 at the Monterey Conference Center Pavilion, the gala kick-off event occurs. Doors open at 7 p.m., when you’ll be entertained by Josh Shpak and his Quartet, from the Berklee College of Music. Terri Lyne Carrington, the 2016 Artist-In-Residence, along with several others, begin the Judges Concert at 7:30 p.m. Following an impressive array of musicians, you’ll be treated to a Champagne and Sweets Benefit Reception. Things keep getting better the rest of the night. General tickets for opening night are free, while VIP tickets are $50, and include special seating among other amenities. You can feel good about this too, as proceeds go toward the Monterey Jazz Festival Education Programs. If you’re interested in opening night, please see this event Web page.

The list of finalists (with our congratulations to all of them) is staggering and varied, and represents young musicians from many different schools, institutions, and US states. Here is a very small sampling:

  • Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Stars – California
  • Las Vegas Academy of the Arts – Nevada
  • Eckstein Middle School ­– Washington
  • Tucson Jazz Institute Concord Combo – Arizona
  • Josh Shpak Quartet, Berklee College of Music – Massachusetts

These fabulous and talented young musicians will be judged in four different categories:

  • Middle School Big Band
  • High School Big Band, Combo, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Big Band Composer
  • Conglomerate High School Big Band and Combo
  • College Big Band, Combo or Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Learning on the bandstand: a place of honor and prestige. Billed as “one of the most inclusive festivals in the United States”, this competition and festival sees over 130 groups apply every year. You’ll see the best of the best here. And the students themselves? They will get tips and techniques from the pros, be impressed and inspired by “star-studded” judges, receive helpful and critiques from others, and jam for one another. To learn all of the details about this year’s NGJF, please visit their main website.

This list was accurate at the time of publication; please check directly with the venue(s) to ensure dates, times, and locations remain the same.

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