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The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival

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While there is no disputing the hegemony of New York City as jazz’s artistic epicenter, some of the music’s stronger enabling forces have bases far away from Gotham. Take, for instance, the examples put forth on two of the finer jazz albums this year, the Monterey Quartet’s Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival and the SFJAZZ Collective’s Live 2009, both with direct links to historically strong West Coast jazz festivals, the Monterey Jazz Festival and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, respectively.

A shining (if fleeting) example amongst “all-star” confabs, the Monterey Quartet-a sleek powerhouse unit featuring bassist Dave Holland, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Eric Harland and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba-was brought together by MJF director Tim Jackson for the milestone 50th-anniversary event in Monterey. As this newly released live recording reminds us, the group’s sets were possibly the boldest act on that festival’s program, period.

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