Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

The California High School All-Star Band was created in 1971 as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education.

Renamed the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra in 2004, former members include pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, saxophonists Joshua Redman, Donny McCaslin, Mark Turner, Eric Marienthal, Ted Nash, and Dave Koz; trombonist Andy Martin, flutist Elena Pinderhughes, trumpeters Gilbert Castellanos and Ambrose Akinmusire, and big band leader Gordon Goodwin, to name a few. In the past, the band has been under the leadership of Ladd McIntosh, Don Schamber, Benny Golson, Bill Berry, and others. Now under the tutelage of Paul Contos, the renowned saxophonist and flutist who serves as the director of the Orchestra, the ensemble is dedicated to the study and performance of the most challenging big band literature available.

After obtaining a place in the Orchestra, members of this ensemble gather for one weekend in the summer to begin rehearsals in preparation for a domestic or international tour. Having received worldwide acclaim, tour performances for the Orchestra have included festivals and venues in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe, including:

American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri

Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, San Diego, California

Berklee Performance Center, Boston, Massachusetts

Carmel Bach Festival, Carmel, California

Centrum Jazz Festival, Port Townsend, Washington

Free Hills Jazz Festival, Nagoya, Japan

Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York

International Music Festival, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington

Jazz At The Bistro, St. Louis, Missouri

Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, New York

The Jazz Showcase, Chicago, Illinois

Jazz Standard, New York City, New York

The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.

Kuchan Jazz Festival, Hokkaido, Japan

Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, California

Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto, Nanao, Japan

Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Canada

North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Sweet Rhythm, New York City, New York

Tokyo TUC Jazz Club, Tokyo, Japan

Tomisato Jazz Festival, Tomisato, Japan

Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto, Canada

Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy

Vitello's Jazz Club, Los Angeles, California

Yoshi's, San Francisco, California

The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra has been performing on the Arena Stage since 1971, and has been part of the Monterey tradition of presenting young musicians at the Festival. Many of jazz's greatest stars have appeared with the band, including Louis Bellson, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Clark Terry, and many others.

In recent times the NGJO has performed with Regina Carter (2004); Branford Marsalis (2005); Kurt Elling (2006); Terence Blanchard (2007); Christian McBride (2008); Wynton Marsalis (2009); Dianne Reeves (2010); Joshua Redman (2011); Ambrose Akinmusire (2012); Joe Lovano (2013); Eric Harland (2014); Wynton Marsalis and Ted Nash (2015), and Terri Lyne Carrington (2016).

In addition, the 2008 NGJO was the backing band for Maceo Parker, and in 2014, the NGJO was the backing band for Michael Feinstein's "The Sinatra Project."