Three legends show the kids how it’s done
Thursday, April 3, 2008
The 15 judges who will evaluate the 50-plus student bands that will travel here to compete would make a pretty insane group themselves—Ron Westray, George Stone, Lauren Sevian, Jon Nordgren, Mike Galisatus, Lynne Fiddmont, Matt Falker, Sal Cracchiolo, Paul Contos, Corey Christiansen and Dave Carpenter among them. Below, a look at the decorated careers of three standout musician-judges, who will perform as part of the festival’s Kick Off concert Friday, April 4.
George DukeA Grammy-winning pianist and a producer of hundreds of songs—including his first Number-One hit “Sukiyaki,” an A Taste of Honey number that went platinum in pop, not jazz—George Duke is a nothing less than a musical powerhouse. And, given the fact that he has recorded his own music in each of the past five decades, he’s also an artist whom we can comfortably call a living legend. Born and raised in San Rafael, Duke got his start with Julian “Cannonball” Adderly and grew from there. One of his first bands featured Al Jarreau, whom he met at the San Francisco Conservatory, where both attended school. Together they formed the house band at San Francisco’s Half Note Club. He’s played with the Who’s Who of straight-ahead jazz, including Sonny Rollins, Joe Williams and Dexter Gordon; crossed over to jazz-fusion with Stanley Clark, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham and the rock-fusionist Frank Zappa; and produced music for the greats, including Miles Davis, Dianne Reeves, Natalie Cole and his ol’ buddy Jarreau.
Terri Lyne CarringtonNow in her early 40s, Terri Lyne Carrington is a highly respected drummer whose talent has drawn deep admiration. First awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee School of Music, the school in 2003 gave her an honorary doctorate degree; she now serves there as a full-time professor. Carrington has toured with Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. She was also the house drummer for the 1990s TV talk shows The Arsenio Hall Show and Vibe. Her first solo CD, 1989’s Real Life Story, was nominated for a Grammy and featured Carlos Santana, Grover Washington Jr., Dianne Reeves and Patrice Rushen, which speaks volumes about the respect she garners within the musical world.
Billy HarperLike many of the young players here in Monterey this week, Texas-born tenor saxophonist Billy Harper formed his first jazz quintet as a high school student. In 1966 the young player moved to New York and began performing with some of the icons of jazz, including Gil Evans, Max Roach, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Lee Morgan and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. His deeply soulful music has its roots in Coltrane, and explains Harper’s following in Europe, Japan and Africa, where he has performed, recorded, and still tours. Harper has released 16 albums, has been a music educator at Rutgers University and the New School, and has received numerous educational and composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.