Global Jazz Students Inhabit the Wonderful World of Garzone

By 
Rob Hayes
October 7, 2019
The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors take the stage at the 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival.
Faculty saxophonist George Garzone
Trumpeter Milena Casado of the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors
Marco Pignataro, managing director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute
Pianist Anastassiya Petrova of the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors
Bassists Noam Tanzer and Nick Isherwood
Image by Robert Holt
Image by Robert Holt
Image by Robert Holt
Image by Robert Holt
Image by Robert Holt
Image by Robert Holt

Since 1996, Berklee students have performed on the stages of the Monterey Jazz Festival in the esteemed company of alumni performers such as Diana Krall B.M. '83, Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah B.M. '04, John Scofield B.M. '73 '97H, Esperanza Spalding B.M. '05 '18H, and Luciana Souza B.M. '88. This year, the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, led by their professor and mentor, saxophonist George Garzone, took their own place in festival history, performing a program of Garzone’s compositions: the World of Garzone.

Prior to the festival, Garzone and the band visited Oakland School of the Arts (OSA) to give a clinic for 100 high school music students. Late in the event, Garzone pulled a rabbit out of his hat, making a surprise invitation for OSA student drummer Jayla Hernández to come to the stage and duet with him. Fireworks ensued

Garzone, enjoying his first-ever appearance at Monterey immensely, helmed the Ambassadors in two performances, on the festival’s Garden Stage and in the Pacific Jazz Café. Typical of the Garzone sense of humor, his take on “I Hear a Rhapsody” became “I Hear a Rap Tune”; and the musical illustration of his long-ago encounter in the Village Vanguard with Charles Mingus, “The Mingus that I Knew,” provided another highlight.