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Review: The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 2016

A little Cali vibe for a New York winter

Gerald Clayton, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Greg Hutchinson, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Joe Sanders, Greg Hutchinson: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Joe Sanders, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Raul Midon, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Raul Midon, Joe Sanders, Nicholas Payton: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Ravi Coltrane, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016
Ravi Coltrane, Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Birdland, NYC Feb. 2016

The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, as its title implies, is as much brand name as band name. This year’s outing, which began Jan. 14 in Santa Barbara and will end March 13 in Chicago, features the sextet of Raul Midón on guitar, percussion and vocals; Ravi Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones; Nicholas Payton on trumpet; musical director Gerald Clayton on piano; Joe Sanders on bass; with Gregory Hutchinson on drums (Kendrick Scott will replace him on later dates).

At the early set at New York City’s Birdland on Feb. 6, the last of a five-night run, the configuration proved both virtuosic and versatile. They moved from steamy funk to silky ballad material easily, the various musicians leaving and returning to the stage often enough to allow for both individual showcasing and taut full and partial ensemble playing.

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Originally Published