Tim Jackson stepping down at Monterey Jazz

Tim Jackson, co-founder of Santa Cruz's Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Tim Jackson, co-founder of Santa Cruz’s Kuumbwa Jazz Center, is stepping down as artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

After three decades at the influential Monterey Jazz Festival, Tim Jackson is calling it quits, though he says he’ll remain with the venue he co-founded in his hometown of Santa Cruz, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

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Certainly one of the most influential Santa Cruzans in the music business, and one of the big behind-the-scenes names in jazz on the West Coast, is Kuumbwa Jazz Center co-founder and longtime executive director Tim Jackson, who this week announced that he is stepping away from his other gig, as the head of the storied Monterey Jazz Festival.

Jackson’s appointment as MJF’s artistic director 32 years ago was a huge transition at the West Coast’s premier jazz festival. Replacing the immortal Jimmy Lyons in Monterey was the jazz-world equivalent of replacing Johnny Carson on late-night TV. At the time, Tim had already built a towering reputation at Kuumbwa, but for most MJF regulars, he was just some guy running a small club in Santa Cruz.

Under Tim’s leadership, the Monterey Jazz Festival continues to be one of the pillars of the jazz music calendar. This year’s festival will be his last as artistic director, though he says he’ll continue on at Kuumbwa. Congratulations for an amazing legacy in jazz, Tim.

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