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2021 Monterey Jazz Festival Makes First Lineup Announcement

Performers will include Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Pat Metheny

Herbie Hancock at the Newport Jazz Festival, August 3, 2019
Herbie Hancock at the Newport Jazz Festival, August 3, 2019 (photo: Marek Lazarski)

Normalcy is nigh: Yet another of the major American jazz festivals has announced its return to live performance. The 2021 Monterey Jazz Festival will occupy the Monterey County Fairgrounds from September 24–26, a welcome return for an event that’s been a cornerstone of the California jazz scene ever since it was founded in 1958.

The restored festival lineup includes Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Pat Metheny Side-Eye, 2021 artist-in-residence Christian Sands, and more, with artists still to be announced. (The festival also promises surprise guests on September 25 and 26.)

On the closing day of the festival, Gerald Clayton will conduct the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, composed as always of the best high-school jazz musicians in the country, as determined by a team of expert adjudicators. This year’s 20 orchestra members are as follows:

Brandon Suarez, alto saxophone / Gulliver Preparatory, Miami, Fla.
Kevin Brewster, alto saxophone / East Kentwood High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Nick Caldwell, tenor saxophone / San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, Calif.
Zeb J-A, tenor saxophone / Durham Academy, Durham, N.C.
Noa Zebley, baritone saxophone / Northgate High School, Concord, Calif.
Andre Perlman, trombone / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Andrew Zhang, trombone / Lakeside School, Sammamish, Wash.
Bruno Tzinas, trombone / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Chase Bautista, bass trombone / Prospect High School, San Jose, Calif.
Santana Rojas, lead trumpet / Pebble Hills High School, El Paso, Texas
Cameron Davidson, trumpet / Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson, Ariz.
Jack Towse, trumpet / Friends Academy, Huntington, N.Y.
Skylar Tang, solo chair trumpet / Crystal Springs Uplands School, Foster City, Calif.
Lóren Littlejohn, trumpet / Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Brandon Goldberg, piano / Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
John Murray, bass / San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, Calif.
Colman Burks, drums / Plano West Senior High School, Plano, Texas
Blake Slaughter, guitar / Fine Arts Center, Greenville, S.C.
Ellah Brown, vocal / Rutherford High School, Rutherford, N.J.
Kobie Andrews, steel pan / College Park Academy, Springdale, Md.

Although audiences are welcome, the 2021 festival will still observe strict COVID-19 protocols. It will confine itself to one stage, the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena, which will be limited to 50% capacity.

The announced lineup is below. For more information on the 2021 Monterey Jazz Festival, visit

Friday, Sept. 24
Herbie Hancock
Pat Metheny Side-Eye

Saturday, Sept. 25
Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science
Las Cafeteras
Miho Hazama and m_unit

Sunday, Sept. 26
George Benson
Kandace Springs
Christian Sands Group (2021 Artist-in-Residence)
Next Generation Jazz Orchestra directed by Gerald Clayton

Live Review: 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival