History of the Festival

Jimmy Lyons at Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, ca. 1989
Jimmy Lyons (left) and Al Adolph, President of the MJF Board, at the Archive of Recorded Sound, 1986

During its first twenty-five years, the Monterey Jazz Festival established a rich history and accumulated a sizeable body of important recordings featuring the most significant jazz musicians of their time. In 1984 the festival considered placing the tape recordings in the care of an established archive where they would be preserved in a secure and climate-controlled environment, cataloged, and made available for reference and research. Two years later in 1986, archivist Barbara Sawka accepted the collection for Stanford, and over subsequent years the festival continued to add each year's performances to the Stanford archive. As a whole, the festival's collection documents one of the premiere jazz institutions in the world, comprising over 1,500 sound and moving image recordings of live performances and interviews. A brief reflection of the Festival's first fifty years reveals the place of this archive as a rich resource in the study of jazz and jazz history.

Photo by Edward Souza, Stanford News Service