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10 artists to see at 59th Monterey Jazz Festival

The mother ship of jazz festivals in America has to be at Monterey, Calif. The Monterey Jazz Festival is quickly approaching. Before you know it, 500 arena and grounds artists will converge on eight indoor/outdoor stages to perform 110 shows — on the books at least — for three nights and two days, Sept. 16-18.

The 59th Monterey Jazz Festival is the music festival against which all others are compared. This year will not disappoint hardcore and curious fans, either. Take every major, important, and genre-shaking artist, and chances are, they’ll be there live.

A jazz festival this vast deserves more than one artist in residence. Monterey Jazz Festival features three: 2016 artist-in-residence, Grammy-award-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington; commission artist, the legendary, highly influential, 10-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Wayne Shorter; and showcase artist, saxophonic show-shifter Joshua Redman.

At AXS, we’re here to help you navigate a sea of equally worthy and thrilling artists at this popular and prestigious jazz festival. Here are 10 to see without question:

Richard Bona Mandekan Cubano 8:50 p.m. Sept. 16 Arena-Jimmy Lyons Stage: In this life, there exists only a few artists who make you bow your head, breathe deep, and worship the ground they walk on. You’ll move heaven and earth to see them perform. In the world of Afro-Cuban jazz, one of those artists is Cameroonian bassist, singer, songwriter Richard Bona, “The African Sting.” He’s currently on a U.S. tour this month promoting his Sept. 16 Heritage release with the Afro-Cuban band, Mandekan Cubano. His eighth album is a deep exploration of Cuban music’s origins prior to and during the 15th century Mandekan Empire — way before slavery and colonization split up Sundiata’s unified kingdom. This is his first recording with the Cuban band, featuring the coalescence of Cuba with his West African roots.