* In celebration of the 50th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival Records will make its debut with a remarkable series of historic live-at-Monterey releases. Not only does this mark the first time a festival has launched its own label, but the riches of its tape archives—more than 1600 tapes with more than 2000 hours of concerts in the vault—makes this ambitious endeavor a jazz bonanza.
* The Monterey Jazz Festival, the pioneering West Coast-styled jazz party, inarguably holds the world record for the longest-running jazz affair, having been born in 1958 on the Monterey Fairgrounds, some 100 miles south of San Francisco. This year MJF turns 50, with its annual three-day gala (September 21–23) taking on special significance with a wealth of performances offered on nine stages spread throughout the festival’s 20-acre grounds.
* The first five recordings, to be released on August 21, capture the crème de la crème of the jazz heritage: Louis Armstrong (caught headlining the first night of the festival in 1958); Miles Davis (introducing to the West Coast his soon-to-be-classic ‘60s quintet rhythm section in 1963); and Thelonious Monk (his quartet augmented by bassist Steve Swallow and an expanded five-piece festival workshop in 1964), plus sets by Dizzy Gillespie (in 1965 having expanded his usual quintet with Kenny Barron and James Moody to a sextet by adding Big Black on congas) and Sarah Vaughan (backed by a young Bill Mays, Bob Magnusson and Jimmy Cobb – and one tune with the Jazz at the Philharmonic All-Stars in 1971).
* Please, hear some samples:
1. Louis Armstrong “Mack The Knife”, asx or qtl
2. Miles Davis “Autumn Leaves”, asx or qtl
3. Thelonious Monk “Rhythm-A-Ning”, asx or qtl
4. Dizzy Gillespie “Poor Joe”, asx or qtl
5. Sarah Vaughan “’Round Midnight”, asx or qtl