A History of Jazz


Jazz Festivals - Monterey

Monterey, California is home to the longest running jazz festival in the world.

Jimmy Lyons, who encouraged 67 local businessmen to donate $100 each to fund the first festival, was its founder in 1958.

That year, the Monterey Jazz Festival became a reality and made jazz history. Jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, John Lewis, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Ernestine Anderson, Harry James, Max Roach and Billie Holiday (to name a few) took part in this milestone event.

Today, the Monterey Jazz Festival carries on the great tradition of bringing together jazz fans and musicians.

In addition to featuring major artists from the world of jazz, the Monterey Jazz Festival traditionally features jazz conversations, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping, and festivities.

The goal of this festival has always been to keep the spirit of jazz alive. This is why the Monterey Jazz Festival was founded as a non-profit educational corporation and has donated its proceeds to musical education ever since its establishment in 1958.

When? The festival takes place every third weekend in September and is a three-day celebration of the best in jazz.

Where? Five stages and a jazz theater are spread throughout the 20-acre Monterey Fairgrounds.

Who? Some of the line-up consisted of:

  • The Neville Brothers
  • Buckwheat Zydeco
  • The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
  • Ralph Towner & Friends
  • The Four Brothers
  • The Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
  • Peter Cincotti
  • Calvin Keys
  • Bruce Forman
  • The Dave Ellis Ensemble
  • Solcircle
  • The Duke Robillard Band
  • Herbie Hancock & Bobby Hutcherson
  • Nnenna Freelon
  • The Dave Douglas New Quintet
  • The Mike Zilber/Steve Smith Quartet

Visit the Monterey Jazz Festival for schedule and ticket information.