Next Generation Jazz Festival Announces Winners

Top groups—including the first winner from outside the United States—are set to perform at Monterey Jazz Festival in September

A student performs during a previous Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey

The results are in from the Next Generation Jazz Festival competition, where 108 ensembles from 11 states and four countries performed April 5-7.

Sponsored by the Monterey Jazz Festival, the event showcases the country’s most promising soloists and ensembles—both vocal and instrumental—from middle school, high school, and college. They are chosen through recorded auditions reviewed by a panel of jazz educators.

Top groups are invited to perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif. on Sept. 27-29.

Results by division are listed below. A full list of top groups, scholarship and award winners can be found on montereyjazzfestival.org.

Results by Division

High School Big Band Division:

Top honors went to Downey High School Jazz Band I (Downey, Calif.), Corneliu Olariu, director, for their first win in the division.

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Second place went to Rio Americano High School AM Jazz Ensemble (Sacramento, Calif.), Josh Murray, director, who will be making their 17th appearance at Monterey since 1988.

Third place went to Northgate High School (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Greg Brown, director, making it their sixth consecutive appearance at the festival. All three ensembles will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

High School Combo Division:

Top honors went to Hamilton High School Jazz Ensemble A (Los Angeles, Calif.), Jim Foschia, director, their first win since 2011.

The runner-up was Rio Americano High School Children Hearing Music (Sacramento, Calif.), Josh Murray, director.

Third place went to Crossroads School Jazz A Band (Santa Monica, Calif.), Evan Avery, director.

Hamilton High School Jazz Ensemble A will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

High School Vocal Ensemble Division:

Top honors went to Valencia High School Two N’ Four (Valencia, Calif.), Christine Tavares-Mocha, director, for the second year in a row.

Second place went to Folsom High School Jazz Choir I (Folsom, Calif.), Curtis Gaesser, director.

Third place went to Mead High School (Spokane, Wash.), Mike Saccomanno, director. 

Valencia High School “Two N’ Four” and Folsom High School Jazz Choir I will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

High School Vocal Soloist Division:

Top honors went to Zion Dyson from the Bishop’s School (San Diego, Calif.).

Runner-up was Rebecca Ramirez from Downey High School (Downey, Calif.).

Third place was Samantha Spector from Winward School (Los Angeles, Calif.).

Zion Dyson will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

High School Conglomerate Big Band Division:

Top honors went to the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra (San Francisco, Calif.), Paul Contos, director. It was their third win in a row and their sixth win in the division since 2013.

The runner-up was the Colburn Jazz Workshop Big Band (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lee Secard, director.

Third place went to the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Big Band (Tucson, Az.), Johnathan Black, director.

The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Jazz Orchestra will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

High School Conglomerate Combo Division:

Top honors went to the Tucson Jazz Institute Concord Combo (Tucson, Az.), Brice Winston, director. It is their first win since 2014 in the division.

Second place went to Colburn Jazz Workshop Monday Night Band (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lee Secard, director.

Third place went to the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory New Soil Ensemble (San Diego, Calif.), Gilbert Castellanos, director.

Tucson Jazz Institute Concord Combo will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

College Big Band Division:

The top group was the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano Jazz Orchestra (San Jose, Costa Rica), Carlomagno Araya, director. It is the first time that a group outside the United States has won the division, and only the second time that a non-U.S. group has won any division.

Second place went to University of Southern California Thornton Jazz Orchestra (Los Angeles, Calif.), Bob Mintzer, director.

Third place went to University of Nevada, Las Vegas Jazz Ensemble I (Las Vegas, Nev.), Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye, directors.

Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano Jazz Orchestra will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

College Vocal Ensemble Division:

The top group was California State University, Long Beach Pacific Standard Time (Long Beach, Calif.), Christine Helferich Guter, director. This was their first win since 2014, and their fourth win since 2009.

The runner-up was University of Miami Frost School of Music Vocal Jazz I (Coral Gables, Fla.), Kate Reid, director.

Third place went to Sacramento State Vox Now (Sacramento, Calif.), Gaw Vang-Williams, director

California State University, Long Beach Pacific Standard Time will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

College Combo Division:

Top honors went to Columbia University Jazz Combo (New York, N.Y.), Bruce Barth, director, making their debut appearance at NGJF.

The runner-up was University of Miami Frost School of Music Stamps Quintet (Coral Gables, Fla.), Chuck Bergeron, director.

In third place was California State University, Northridge Amanda Hamilton Group (Northridge, Calif.), Matt Harris, director.

Columbia University Jazz Combo will perform at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.