Big congratulations to Tim Jackson on receiving the George Wein Impresario Award from Berklee College of Music at the 59th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 17, 2016. Joining in on the celebration are Umbria Jazz, Terri Lyne Carrington, Clint Eastwood, Larry Simpson and Rob Hayes from Berklee College of Music, Luis Alvarez, Christian McBride, Quincy Jones and Joshua Redman.
About the Award:
In 2015, Berklee College of Music created an award in the name of George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, that would, “recognize individuals who bring music to life, through their dedication to discovering, mentoring, presenting and promoting creative musicians and their music.”
Tim Jackson has been central to envisioning and producing the Monterey Jazz Festival for the past 25 years.
In that time, he has presented, with a supremely discerning pair of ears, the towering giants of this music – all the greats — tremendous young talents in need of their first big break, and all of the brilliant, creative players who make the Monterey Jazz Festival such a deeply rewarding experience each year.
A flutist and a surfer, Tim began on the path of the impresario by pushing a broom and taking tickets for the legendary Pete Douglas, at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, up in Half Moon Bay. And when, about 40 years ago, some likeminded people gathered to explore opening a jazz club in Santa Cruz, Tim was one of them. In time, his deep love of the music and innate organizational sense helped establish Kuumbwa Jazz Center as a place that every creative musician wants to play.
It was 25 years ago that MJF co-founder Jimmy Lyons made it known he intended to retire, and shortly thereafter Tim was chosen to become the festival’s new General Manager. With a mandate from the board, he set about presenting the next generation of musicians, improving production values, and increasing the number of venues. Part of his gift has been to modernize, while retaining festival traditions, and the family feeling that brings jazz lovers back year after year.
Tim would be the first to tell you that he hasn’t done this alone. He came into a great tradition, and he has enhanced it, and grown it, with the help of some of the best people in this business. The team here, both the festival’s year-round staff, and the dedicated volunteers that return each September, are simply extraordinary. They move mountains.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is unique, in so many ways. The most important is this: the net proceeds of the festival are earmarked for jazz education. That decision was made back in 1958! This deep commitment has had an ongoing champion in Tim, to the point that jazz education and the Monterey Jazz Festival have really become synonymous. I know Tim would acknowledge the festival’s education directors over the years: the late Bill Berry, a Berklee alumnus; Dr. Rob Klevan; and Paul Contos, who have each made this Monterey educational magic happen, for so many talented young people.
The education program has grown, from scholarships, to year-round regional, and then national, all-star bands, regular band trips to perform in Japanese and European festivals, and the establishment of the Next Generation Jazz Festival, now one of the most highly respected youth music festivals in the entire world.
The staff and Board of Trustees at Kuumbwa Jazz wish to congratulate Tim for his artistic vision, integrity and leadership that has made both Kuumbwa Jazz and the Monterey Jazz Festival international leaders in the world of jazz.
Photo by Jim Stone