On August 5th, in its second full slate of archival releases, Monterey Jazz Festival Records (MJFR) will release a new series of never-before-heard concert performances by six jazz greats - Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Shirley Horn, Tito Puente and Cal Tjader - and classic blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon.
The MJFR label was founded in 2007 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival. It made its debut with a remarkable series of historic live-at-Monterey CDs, rolled out shortly before the September festival. In addition, MJFR issued a 50th-year compilation disc that included selections from the five albums as well as live Monterey material from Diana Krall, Joe Henderson, Dave Brubeck and Pat Metheny’s trio with Larry Grenadier and Brian Blade.
Three years before Monterey’s monumental anniversary, MJF General Manager Tim Jackson started thinking in broader strokes. “I wanted to leverage the festival’s assets and use the 50th as a launching pad to make this historical music available to people,” he says. The label was the obvious outgrowth. Not only did this mark the first time a festival launched its own label, but the riches of its archives - more than 1600 tapes with more than 2000 hours of concerts in the vault - makes this ambitious endeavor a jazz bonanza.
In addition to releasing archival recordings, MJFR also releases new festival-related recordings, including Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 2007 by the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars, the three-generation ensemble that performed at the festival’s golden anniversary celebration in September 2007.
The label’s General Manager Jason Olaine commented: “We’re not going to be stuck in a jazz time warp. We’re excited to deliver important historical music, as well as assemble special projects and all-star ensembles to debut at the festival each year.”
For information on Monterey Jazz Festival Records you can visit their website, concordmusicgroup.com.
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