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First Wave of Artists Announced for Monterey Jazz Festival

Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, artist-in-residence Christian Sands, and commission artist Miho Hazama are just a few of more than 100 projected performers

Herbie Hancock at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival (photo: Marek Lazarski)

The 63rd annual Monterey Jazz Festival, scheduled for September 25-27, 2020, will feature performances by NEA Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and George Benson, along with Buddy Guy; the quartet of Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade, reviving the music of Redman’s 1994 album MoodSwing; Jamie Cullum; Lila Downs; and more. 

Although scheduling is still in process, it has been confirmed that Hancock will perform Friday, September 25, on a bill with Metheny’s Side-Eye trio. Guy and the MoodSwing quartet are slated for Saturday, September 26, along with this year’s festival commission artist, composer/bandleader Miho Hazama, and her ensemble m_unit. Downs, Cullum, and Benson will appear on Sunday, September 27.

This year’s artist-in-residence will be pianist Christian Sands, who for the past two years was music director for the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 60th Anniversary Edition, which included Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Jamison Ross, and Yasushi Nakamura and gave 23 performances across the United States. Besides performing in multiple sets throughout the festival, Sands will lead and help adjudicate two special clinics on Saturday, April 4 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, MJF’s all-student band competition in downtown Monterey, and provide instruction to middle- and high-school students at MJF’s Summer Jazz Camp, June 15-20.

Other performers confirmed for Monterey include Kandace Springs, Matthew Whitaker, Las Cafeteras, and the Mimi Fox Organ Trio. Eventually, the festival is expected to feature over 100 performances from iconic and emerging jazz artists, along with educational events, conversations, films, and exhibits on seven stages over two days and three nights at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center in Monterey, California. More artists will be announced on April 1, 2020, when tickets go on sale.

For more information about the 63rd Monterey Jazz Festival, visit