The 58th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival kicks off September 18, running through the weekend. This year, the south-of-San Francisco festival features legends like Chick Corea and Béla Fleck among the more than 500 artists playing.
The jazz and blues festival got its start in 1958, making it the longest running jazz festival in the world. And luckily for fans and scholars of jazz and blues, the performances have been recorded throughout its history.
The Monterey Jazz Festival Collection resides at the Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound. There are historic performances - at the very first Monterey Jazz Festival, Billie Holiday performed a mere nine months before her death. You can listen to Holiday sing "God Bless the Child" at the inaugural festival on Stanford's Website dedicated to the archive.
Though the entire collection of sound recordings and films has been digitized, only a small selection can be heard or viewed online. The collection is searchable though, and if you're lucky enough to be near Stanford, you can drop in and listen to your choice of selections.