One of the world’s longest-running musical events, the Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates its 65th year with a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble. Featuring Tony and GRAMMY Award-winning NEA Jazz Master vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater alongside GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling and critically acclaimed rising star saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, this stellar band is directed by visionary pianist Christian Sands and anchored by his longtime rhythm section, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Clarence Penn.
MJF On Tour presents the artistry, spirit, and fun of the Monterey Jazz Festival to audiences far and wide with musicians who embody the Monterey aesthetic by performing music, both historic and new, that reflects the values and legacy of the Monterey Jazz Festival over the last 65 years.
The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour concept began with the 50th Anniversary in 2007 with the idea of taking the musical spirit of MJF, along with artists who reflect that spirit, and fashion a musical program that engages all the artistry and energy of the festival and bring it to jazz fans throughout the country. That first tour included James Moody, Terence Blanchard, Benny Green, Nnenna Freelon, Derrick Hodge, and Kendrick Scott.
The band debuted at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival where they recorded live and released the GRAMMY-winning CD Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival. The group then embarked on 52-city tour of the US in January–April of 2008, from Bellingham, Washington, to Long Island, New York. They have produced four subsequent tours in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019. Artists involved include Christian McBride, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gerald Clayton, Benny Green, Bria Skonberg, Kenny Barron, Kurt Elling, Regina Carter, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane, Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Melissa Aldana, and Ambrose Akinmusire, to name a few. In total, the MJF on Tour programs have played more than 185 concerts to almost 150,000 people.