As part of a continuing commitment to jazz education and the perpetuation and development of top-level jazz musicians and jazz performance, the Monterey Jazz Festival proudly sponsors the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Formerly known as the High School All-Star Big Band, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra includes some of the top high school jazz students in the nation and represents the very highest level of musicianship.
Under the directorship of Paul Contos, renowned saxophonist and flautist, the ensemble studies and performs the most challenging big band literature available. Orchestra members are selected through a rigorous audition process that includes review by a national panel of judges comprised of professional jazz musicians and educators. After obtaining a place in the orchestra, members gather in either New York City or Boston for one weekend in the summer to begin rehearsals in preparation for an international tour.
The orchestra has performed at festivals and various venues in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe, garnering worldwide acclaim. In September, the Next Generation Orchestra gathers once again to prepare for a slot on the main stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where they are featured with one or more special guest artists.
In 2008, the 21-piece jazz orchestra features members selected from 18 high schools from the four corners of the country. 11 states contributed members this year in an unprecedented cross-section of the best high school jazz programs in the country.
The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will embark on its annual summer tour, starting with rehearsals at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and then record an album. For more information, please visit www.montereyjazzfestival.org.