Try as I might, I cannot shake the bittersweet tinge that clings to my Sundays at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
The feeling stems from the realization that the weekend I so look forward to each year is winding down, that before too long I will be on Highway 1 heading off the peninsula and back to the ordinary and every day. That’s enough to bum out even the happiest disposition.
There is, fortunately, plenty of great jazz to help cushion the blow. Sunday night Arena lineups in particular dependably feature giants of the genre and this year is no exception. The venue is offering audiences a nighttime double bill of the Wayne Shorter Quartet (7 p.m.) in a gig celebrating the saxophonist-composer’s 80th birthday, and Diana Krall (8:45 p.m.), back at Monterey after a six-year absence. (Any chance husband Elvis Costello will put in an appearance?) Those two acts follow the afternoon’s headlining ensemble of David Sanborn, Bob James, Steve Gadd and James Genus (2:40 p.m.). Simply put, you cannot go wrong in the Arena.
Sunday afternoon is traditionally family day at the festival, with lots of student bands and the like. The Arena audience can catch MJF’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra on stage with Joe Lovano (1:10 p.m.), while the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra plays the Garden Stage (1 p.m.) and a variety of school groups rotate through the afternoon in the Night Club.
Outside the Arena, Sunday night’s best offerings involve three veteran jazz artists performing in intimate venues – and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Head over to the Night Club for the Lou Donaldson Quartet (7 p.m.) followed by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet (9 p.m.) or get your organ on at Dizzy’s Den with the Dr. Lonnie Smith Quartet (9:30 p.m.)
And after that … well, it’s all over. Another Monterey Jazz Festival will pass into history. Bummer. Now the wait begins for next year.
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