On February 5, the MJF/52 All-Stars will kick off a 34-date tour that will take them to 32 cities in 17 states before it wraps up in the Motor City on May 1. And who, you might wonder, are the MJF/52 All-Stars? Well, that would be a sextet of stellar jazz musicians who performed together last year at the 52nd edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival. By name, the MJF/52 All-Stars are pianist Kenny Barron, violinist Regina Carter, guitarist Russell Malone, vocalist Kurt Elling, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake.
In a press release, Tim Jackson, general manager for the Monterey Jazz Festival, said: “With the success of our 50th Anniversary Tour in 2008 and the subsequent Grammy win a year later for Terence Blanchard for the live recording at MJF/50, we were anxious to continue the spirit and excitement created by the inaugural event and build an even stronger platform for 2010’s “MJF on Tour. With Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling and Russell Malone as this year’s principal artists and with the superb support of Kenny’s working trio, Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass and drummer Johnathan Blake, we have created an ensemble that is both sonically interesting and hard swinging. These artists all embody the history, spirit and legacy of the Monterey Jazz Festival and each has a past relationship with MJF that includes performance and educational activities, both core components of Monterey’s mission statement.”
The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour will appear at major performing arts organizations in many regions of the county, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The tour will take place in two phases. The first, a 20-performance East Coast run through 11 states, commences on February 5 at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and concludes on February 28 at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The second leg begins on the West Coast in Bellingham, Washington on April 14 and continues with an additional 14 dates in six states before ending in Detroit on the first of May. For a complete list of shows, visit www.montereyjazzfestival.org.