Yamaha Lends Its Musical Family a Hand at the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival—Onstage and Behind the Scenes


Kenny Barron (piano); Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass); Sean Jones (trumpet); Roy Hargrove (trumpet) and Justin Falkner (drums) performing at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival.(c)MontereyJazzFestival-JimStone

“MJF has always combined great music from the masters with education—and that mission has always been part of Yamaha’s DNA,” says David Jewell, marketing communications manager, Yamaha Corporation of America.

Organizers described the 2017 Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) as a family reunion, and in its 41st year as part of Jazz’s longest continuously running gathering, Yamaha was on hand to support its musical family in ways large and small—onstage and off.

Keeping with a longstanding family tradition, Yamaha supplied pianos and drum sets for all eight MJF stages, which this year saw near record attendance of 38,562 over the September 15-17 Festival period. In addition to providing top quality performance tools for today’s icons—including Yamaha Artists Chick Corea and Sean Jones—Yamaha also connected with jazz’s future stars.

“MJF has always combined great music from the masters with education—and that mission has always been part of Yamaha’s DNA,” says David Jewell, marketing communications manager, Yamaha Corporation of America. “It was wonderful to see the greats perform, but just as inspiring to hear the talented high school and college students taking part in MJF’s Next Generation Jazz Festival program. It was also gratifying to see their excitement when they visited the Yamaha Musical Experience Tent, where they got to sample the same professional quality trumpets, saxes, basses, flutes, basses and other instruments used by our artists.”

In fact, one member of Yamaha’s artist family found the collection of instruments in the Experience Tent to be a show saver. “At one point, Sean Jones stopped by and told us he’d come to MJF with only his trumpet—he expected to be playing outside—but now needed a flugelhorn for an indoor performance,” Jewell says. “We were able to lend him one for the show—and it sounded amazing. We’re really proud that our artists use the same off-the-shelf Yamaha instruments available to everyone.”

This year, Yamaha extended the family connection even farther when the musical instruments team reached out to their friends at Yamaha Motor Corporation USA for golf carts to transport artists and equipment throughout the event—help that was strongly appreciated by MJF’s organization. “For over 40 years, the Monterey Jazz Festival has enjoyed a strong partnership with Yamaha, who has provided pianos, drum sets and, most recently, golf carts for our major festival,” says MJF’s Managing Director Colleen Bailey. “The Yamaha team has become like an extension of the Monterey Jazz Festival family. They bend over backwards to ensure the success of the festival.”

“We were able to save the festival thousands of dollars, money which will go towards its mission of supporting music education,” Jewell adds. “That’s one of the reasons we’re so proud to work with MJF—they’re a true non-profit that uses its resources to help kids study and make music. We’re proud to be part of the family!”

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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