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Monterey Jazz Festival to Receive 30K Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Jazzed Magazine • News • February 24, 2017

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National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.

Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $30,000 to Monterey Jazz Festival to support the Commission Artist for the 60th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September, 15-17, 2017.

The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA ChairmanJane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”

“The NEA has been a longtime supporter of our artistic and educational programs,” said Elizabeth Welden-Smith, Director of Strategic Relations for Monterey Jazz Festival. “We are proud to have been awarded this Arts Work grant to support this important and enduring artistic component of the festival’s history.”

In 2016, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter acted as the Commission Artist, premiering The Unfolding at the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival.

“For our 60th festival in 2017, we are excited to announce bassist John Clayton as our Commission Artist, composing a new work for his Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra,” continued Welden-Smith. “The commission piece will feature John’s son, Gerald Clayton and his Trio, as a centerpiece ensemble within the orchestra.”

John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and pianist/composer Gerald Clayton will also act as the 2017 Artists-In-Residents. It is the first time in the Monterey Jazz Festival’s history that a father and son have been chosen in this role. All three of them have a long history with the Monterey Jazz Festival, and have won or appeared on 12 GRAMMY-winning albums, with an additional 21 GRAMMY nominations.

Past Commission pieces by John Clayton include 2006’s Red Man-Black Man with Kurt Elling and 2013’s tribute to Dave Brubeck, Suite Sweet Dave: The Brubeck Files, both performed by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. In 2015, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton acted as the rhythm section with the Monty Alexander Trio. John also directed the Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra in a tribute to Quincy Jones in 2016.

Gerald Clayton recently acted as Musical Director for Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, which performed 28 shows in 17 cities in 10 states in 2016. Gerald is also a scholarship and soloist award winner at Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2000 and 2001 Next Generation Jazz Festival, and has made trio appearances at MJF in 2010 and 2012 and as in duo with Charles Lloyd in 2014.

Read the bios of John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton here. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

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