Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo

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Photo ©2016 Marilyn K. Wagner

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The Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) has been committed to providing all young people with access to high-quality music education opportunities for nearly a half-century. In recent years, MJF has focused on encouraging and inspiring young women to participate and perform in all of its jazz education components and programs. To this aim, in 2019 MJF is assembling its first Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo, a parallel of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, MJF’s flagship excelling high school all-star big band comprised of the top high school jazz musicians in the United States and beyond.

The Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo will be a small ensemble comprised of a select group of top high school women jazz players from throughout the United States. The ensemble will have a rhythm section as well as a few brass and woodwind players, possibly a vocalist, and all selected based on set criteria through video auditions via the online portal Acceptd.

Any excelling young woman registered in high school for the 2018-2019 school year is eligible and encouraged to apply for admission into the Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo. Further information on the new ensemble will be available at the Acceptd portal.

Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo will perform at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) annual conference in Reno, Nevada, January 9-12, 2019. The group will be directed by rising star and bassist/vocalist and bandleader, Katie Thiroux.

“There needs to be an equal effort for supporting and encouraging the multitude of high school young women who work hard in honing their jazz skills and contribute so much to their local school programs," says Paul Contos, MJF’s Education Director. “We are excited to provide a platform where they can receive national recognition.”

About Katie Thiroux, Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo Director

Rising star Katie Thiroux is a bassist, vocalist and composer. Coming from a musical family in Los Angeles, Katie began her career in music at age four on violin and switched to bass at eight. By age 10, she was performing in principal vocal roles in the LA Opera and Opera Pacifica. She began studying privately with jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton at the age of 12, and in 2005, Thiroux began a mentorship with John Clayton. Among her many awards, she’s received the Shelly Manne New Talent from the Los Angeles Jazz Society, and in 2006, Katie was awarded the full-ride Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music.

After teaching at the Berklee International School in Quito, Ecuador, she returned Los Angeles, where completed her master’s degree at California State University Long Beach on full scholarship in 2012. In 2015, Katie was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition. She has performed at jazz festivals in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland as both a leader and a sideman. In addition, Thiroux often incorporates workshops for students and audiences.

Her debut record, Introducing Katie Thiroux was released in 2015, and received many awards including "Debut Record of the Year" from the Huffington PostAll About Jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association and "Top 5 Debut Records of the Year" from the NPR Jazz Critics Poll. Katie’s latest recording, Off Beat, was cited by DownBeat as one of the “Best Albums of 2017.”

Katie has also been heavily involved with MJF's educational components. Thiroux is a 2006 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra alumna, and was a 2007 member of the Berklee-Monterey Quartet. She has performed and won soloist awards and scholarships at the Next Generation Jazz Festival as a high school student with the Colburn School and as a post-graduate with Cal State Long Beach. In 2017, MJF welcomed Katie as one of MJF's Traveling Clinicians in the Jazz in the Schools program, and she taught at MJF's 2018 Summer Jazz Camp. She recently performed at MJF61 in 2018 with her trio.