The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival

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Thursday August 20, 2009

The Monterey Jazz Festival Records Label is proud to announce performance dates for the Overtone Quartet at the Blue Note on September 8 through 13. Overtone will perform in support of the forthcoming August 25 release, The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival. The quartet, which features bassist Dave Holland, saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Jason Moran and drummer Eric Harland, is the 2009 edition of the Monterey Quartet (which featured Holland, Potter, Hardland and Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano).

The best jazz festivals make musical history-whether it’s bringing together artists who have never played together before or debuting new musical compositions or documenting a significant one-of-a-kind performance with a live recording. Yet it’s unusual that all three components align. However, the Monterey Jazz Festival-one of the world’s most renowned and prestigious jazz parties which throughout its 50-year-plus existence has continuously delivered adventurous programming-has scored that rarified trifecta with the remarkable album The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival.

While MJF Records was launched in 2007 with a series of archival recordings from throughout the festival’s history (including dates by Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Thelonious Monk), part of its mission is to also present jazz in the present tense. “The purpose of the label is to produce new as well as archival music,” says Monterey Jazz Festival General Manager Tim Jackson. “We’re trying to work with a new model that includes performing and recording in one package.”

The first “tradition of the new” release was last year’s Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival CD recorded live by the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars. It was nominated for two Grammy Awards, and won one (Best Jazz Instrumental Solo: “Be-Bop,” trumpeter Terence Blanchard soloist).

The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival was also recorded at the silver anniversary event, with the made-for-Monterey group headlining the arena-sized Jimmy Lyons Stage, followed by a performance at the intimate venue on the festival grounds, Dizzy’s Den. While the first set intrigued the audience, the second set, with the band warmed up and in total sync, enthralled the crowd.

The vision of this quartet came more than a decade before its manifestation. MJF Records General Manager Jason Olaine, the brilliant booker at the renowned Yoshi’s jazz club in Oakland, Calif., attempted to unite Holland with Rubalcaba when the latter’s Cuba-based band mates were denied visas to perform in the U.S. However, the timing was off because of Holland’s schedule. But Olaine continued to think of the creative potential of such a collaboration. Potter came to Olaine’s attention when he was a Verve Records A&R exec a few years later. The final puzzle piece was Harland, who, it became apparent to all parties, would be the perfect fit to contribute to the making of a vital quartet.

Yet, the band idea stalled until 2007 when the MJF Records label was founded. “I pitched Tim Jackson the idea of them playing the festival, recording it, and having it come out on the label,” says Olaine. “He said, ‘Let’s do it.’”