Starring vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kurt Elling, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, pianist Christian Sands, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Clarence Penn, MJF On Tour presents the artistry, spirit, and fun of the Monterey Jazz Festival to audiences far and wide with musicians who embody the Monterey aesthetic by performing music, both historic and new, that reflects the values and legacy of the Monterey Jazz Festival over the last 65 years.
The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour concept began with our 50th Anniversary in 2007 with the idea of taking the musical spirit of MJF, along with artists who reflect that spirit, and fashion a musical program that engages all the artistry and energy of the festival and bring it to jazz fans throughout the country. That first tour included James Moody, Terence Blanchard, Benny Green, Nnenna Freelon, Derrick Hodge, and Kendrick Scott.
The band debuted at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival where they recorded live and released the Grammy-winning CD Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival. We then embarked on 52-city tour of the US in January-April of 2008, from Bellingham, Washington to Long Island, New York. We have produced four subsequent tours in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019. Artists involved include Christian McBride, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gerald Clayton, Benny Green, Bria Skonberg, Kenny Barron, Kurt Elling, Regina Carter, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane, Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Melissa Aldana, and Ambrose Akinmusire, to name a few. In total, the MJF on Tour programs have played over 185 concerts to almost 150,000 people.