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Monterey Jazz Festival Performs and Delights

The audience roared with applause and offered a standing ovation to the sextet, who graced the stage once again for an encore. The touring Monterey Jazz Festival performed in Eisenhower Auditorium last night, and they delighted the audience with intricate, energized melodies.

The sextet included singer Kurt Elling, guitarist Russell Malone, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, drummer Johnathan Blake, and pianist Kenny Barron, recently dubbed a “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The six musicians arranged themselves into various solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets throughout the performance. However, the group performed best as a full ensemble, particularly in their final number, an animated, jazzed-up version of “Nature Boy” with some musical wanderings.

Throughout the night, Elling easily transitioned between classy crooning and hyper-potent scatting that explored stratospheric octaves. Kitagawa’s throbbing solos on the upright bass reminded us that bassists can indeed find themselves at the center of attention. Malone’s clean guitar-playing was hauntingly beautiful. Blake’s electrified drumming elicited cheers and shrieks from the previously-sedate audience. And of course, Regina Carter and Kenny Barron impressed with their incredible speed, precision, and soul.

All in all, the touring Monterey Jazz Festival rocked jazzed. For everyone who attended, it was a dazzling way to spend two hours and twenty dollars. For everyone who missed the show, check out these talented musicians sometime for a real auditory treat.

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