For the last few years, the Monterey Jazz Festival has been producing an online interview series—Welcome to the Sands Box—hosted by Christian Sands. Among his guests have been Christian McBride, Don Was, José James, Monty Alexander, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and many other notable artists. (Watch and listen to Welcome to the Sands Box here.) The festival recently launched another online series, The Listening Space, hosted by pianist Gerald Clayton. Each episode looks at two different compositions from jazz’s past and present, with eyes and ears toward its future.
“As Gerald is now the Director of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, I was looking for ways to engage him more deeply with our students and MJF fans,” Tim Jackson, Monterey Jazz Festival’s artistic director, told JazzTimes. “It was Gerald’s idea to start a listening series. He felt that by a process of deep listening and discussion he could assist in guiding the listener to find additional meaning in the music and in the process tie musical generations together and give inspiration to our music students. The series is going really well with two episodes up and running and more to come.”
In the first episode, Clayton delves into the magic of Miles Davis’ “Milestones” and Chick Corea’s “Matrix.” In the second, “Connections,” Clayton shows the musical relationships between Thelonious Monk and Dayna Stephens, John Coltrane and Branford Marsalis, and Sam Rivers and Walter Smith III. Watch and listen to The Listening Space here.