(Tradewinds Carmel, the unofficial Monterey Jazz Festival hotel.)
Our culture has a collective case of inappropriate superlative-itis.
Nothing can simply be “impressive” or “cool”—it has to be
soaked in OMGs and labeled “the best ever” and “absolutely
That said, Monterey Jazz Festival’s assemblage of the coolest thing
our culture has ever conceived—yes, jazz—makes some of those
superlatives impossible to resist on an annual basis.
This year qualifies completely. The September 17-19 lineup’s
outright inspiring. It’s the best ever. It looks absolutely amazing.
Returning legends like Chick Corea and Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove
and Chris Potter, Christian McBride, Billy Childs and Kenny Garrett
will shine on no fewer than eight stages.
Harry Connick Jr. will wrap his satin songs around listening hearts
for the first time in MJF’s 53 years. Ahmad Jamal, Angelique Kidjo,
Les Nubians, Delbert McClinton, Trombone Shorty, Nellie McKay, Indo-
Pak Coalition and Septeto Nacional de Cuba will all debut their
creative takes on the genre—simultaneously reminding audiences that
MJF has remained a destination for the best in jazz precisely because
it doesn’t linger on legends alone, but enthusiastically celebrates
the edgy and inventive. Note Friday’s “New Grooves Party” featuring
Brass, Bows & Beats; Nellie McKay; Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak
Coalition; and The House Jacks.
All told 500 artists—including artist in residence Dianne Reeves—
will flood the Monterey Fairgrounds’ 20 acres for three dramatic days.
Parlay that music with morning walks to Carmel Beach or the
village’s many storied breakfast joints and evenings reclining in
Tradewinds’ massage tubs and you’ve got the makings of a wildly,
unbelievably epic weekend. Like, OMG.