Herb & Lani - Thelonius Monk Jazz Competition

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Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
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September 24, 2009

*Washington, D.C.--The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz today announced its 22nd annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and all-star Gala Concert will take place at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 11.

A special feature of this year's Competition, the Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert will bring together the biggest names in music, showcasing Blue Note recording artists past and present, including Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Ron Carter, Terence Blanchard, McCoy Tyner, Earl Klugh, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano.

President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chairs of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Gala Concert. This year's Gala co-chairs include Madeleine Albright, Herb and Lani Alpert, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, Bill and Carolyn Powers, and Joseph E. Robert Jr.

Bruce Lundvall, president and CEO of EMI Music's legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, will be presented with the 2009 Maria Fisher Founder's Award, a highly coveted award that honors individuals who have made valuable contributions to jazz and jazz education. Past recipients include Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, George Wein, and Clint Eastwood.

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, often compared in stature to classical music's International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world. Each year, the competition features a different musical instrument and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. Over the past 22 years, the competition has launched the careers of a number of major jazz stars including Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Tierney Sutton and Joey DeFrancesco. These artists and dozens of others from past competitions have forged successful careers as performing and recording artists, as well as music educators to help preserve and perpetuate America's legacy of jazz.

The 2009 competition will feature the bass and 15 of the world's most outstanding young jazz bassists who have been selected to compete before a panel of jazz greats including David Baker, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Bob Hurst, Christian McBride, and John Patitucci.

Scholarships and prizes totaling over $100,000 will be awarded to finalists with a first place award of a recording contract with Concord Records and $20,000 scholarship, second place award of a $10,000 scholarship, and third place award of a $5,000 scholarship. The scholarships are geared to help pay tuition for college-level jazz education studies and provide funds for private, specialized instruction.

The 2009 semifinalists are David Baron, West Hartford, Conn.; Matt Brewer, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Shawn Conley, Nu'uanu, Hawaii; Adam Cote, Poughquag, N.Y.; Corcoran Holt, Washington, D.C.; Daryl Johns, the Bronx, N.Y.; Raviv Markovitz, Lexington, Mass.; Ben Meigners, New York, N.Y.; Linda Oh, Australia; Harish Raghavan, North Brook, Ill.; Jorge Roeder, Lima, Peru; Ruben Samama, The Netherlands; Joe Sanders, Milwaukee, Wis.; Clemes van der Feen, The Netherlands; and Ben Williams, Washington, D.C.

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Semifinals will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, October 10, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium. The three finalists will perform with a group of jazz all-stars at Sunday's Kennedy Center concert, followed by the awards announcement.

The concert will also feature the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Composers Award, sponsored by BMI. This year's winner is Joseph Johnson of Kansas City, Mo., who will perform his winning composition, "Shepherd's Song." The Composers Award, which carries a prize of $10,000, is presented to a composer who best demonstrates originality, creativity and excellence in jazz composition.

Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert will help fund public school blues and jazz education programs throughout Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta.

Since 1999, Black Entertainment Television has produced and broadcast a documentary about the Competition, featuring performance clips and interviews with the contestants and judges.

United Airlines serves as the Official Airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and has generously donated the air travel for the participants of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert.


Saturday, October 10, 2009, at 12 p.m.
Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 10th St. and Constitution Ave. N.W.
Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Semifinals
Tickets are free and will be distributed on a first-come basis beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Baird Auditorium. For general information, call 202-364-7272.

Sunday, October 11, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Finals
Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert
Thelonious Monk International Composers Award
Tickets start at $35 and go up to $1,000 for VIP orchestra seats, which includes admission to thepost-show cast party. For more information on VIP ticket packages, call 202-364-7272. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-444-1324, online at www.kennedy-center.org, and at the Central Box Office for all theaters located in the Kennedy Center's Hall of States. The performance run time is two hours, plus a 20-minute intermission.

Competition Semifinalists

David Baron grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and began studying bass at age nine. He attended the Banff International Workshop, where he studied with Scott Colley and Dave Douglas. Baron won the DownBeat award for Outstanding Jazz Soloist Performance in 2006 and Outstanding Performance with a Jazz Group in 2007. He has performed with Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist Bill Evan, with whom he toured Russia this summer. Baron is currently a student at the Eastman School of Music.

Matt Brewer was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began studying bass at the age of 10 and was performing professionally by the time he was 12. Brewer attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied jazz and classical bass. After graduation, he was accepted into the inaugural class of the Juilliard Jazz Program. During his second year in the program, he began performing and recording with Greg Osby, appearing on Osby's Blue Note release Channel Three. Brewer has also performed with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Terence Blanchard.

Shawn Conley grew up in Nu'uanu, Hawaii and began studying bass at age 14. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Conley was awarded a Wagoner Fellowship to study in Paris with classical bassist Francois Rabbath at the International Rabbath Institute. In 2007, Conley won the International Society of Bassists Scott LaFaro Jazz Competition. He can be heard on the new self-titled CD by Honolulu-based jazz group Bop Tribal.

Adam Cote grew up in Poughquag, New York and began playing electric bass at the age of 13. He attended the University of Hartford, where he studied with Nat Reeves. During his sophomore year, Cote shifted his focus to double bass. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in music, he received a master's degree from SUNY Purchase, where he studied with Todd Coolman and Doug Weiss. This year, Cote was a participant in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. He is the house bassist at the Small's Tuesday night jam session.

Corcoran Holt grew up Washington, D.C. and began studying classical bass at the age of 10, performing with the DC Youth Orchestra. He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where he began focusing on jazz. Holt received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Shenandoah Conservatory and his master's degree from Queens College. He has performed with Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, and Jimmy Heath, and appeared on Javon Jackson's 2008 album Once Upon a Melody. Over the past several years, Holt has performed in Senegal with his own group, as well as in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Daryl Johns was born in the Bronx and began playing bass at age seven with encouragement from his father, drummer Steve Johns, and his mother, saxophonist Debbie Keefe. Now in the eighth grade, Johns has studied with Chip Jackson and Dave Santoro. He has attended the Jazz in July program, the Vermont Jazz Center, and the Litchfield Jazz Camp. Johns sits in regularly around the New York area with musicians including Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, and Randy Brecker. He also performs throughout New York and New Jersey with a trio of his peers. Johns was recently featured on a Fox television segment called "12-Year-Old Jazz Prodigy."

Raviv Markovitz grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and began playing piano at age four and bass at age 10. He attended the Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Program in 2007. Markovitz has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Musicianship Award at the 2008 Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival, Jazz in July Summer Program Scholarship, and IAJE Most Valuable Player Award. He has studied with John Clayton and Bruce Gertz, among others. Markovitz is a freshman at the Manhattan School of Music.

Ben Meigners was born in New York City but grew up in Ramat-Gan, Israel. He began playing bass at age 12 and attended the Thelma Yellin International High School of the Arts. He has composed music for two Israeli television documentaries. In 2000, Meigners was awarded a grant from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation. He moved back to New York in 2002 and has since studied at the New School, City College, and SUNY Purchase. He has also performed with Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb and others. Meigners can currently be heard on the Fat Cat Big Band CD, Face.

Linda Oh grew up in Australia and began playing classical piano at four, clarinet at 11, and bassoon at 13. In high school, she switched to electric bass and after being accepted to the West Australia Academy of Performing Arts, began studying double bass. In 2004, Oh was a winner of the IAJE Sisters in Jazz collegiate competition. She has also participated in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program and the Banff Program for Creative Artists. In 2008, Oh was the recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award. She recently received her master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Harish Raghavan grew up in North Brook, Illinois and began playing bass at age 17. He attended the University of Southern California, where he studied with John Clayton and Robert Hurst. Raghavan moved to New York after graduation and has since performed with artists such as Kurt Elling and Eric Harland. Raghavan is a regular instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Jazz at Centrum summer program in Port Townsend, Washington. He will be featured on pianist Taylor Eigsti's upcoming Concord release.

Jorge Roeder was born and raised in Lima, Peru. At the age of 14 he began studying cello and electric bass. Two years later, he was invited to study cello at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. He soon switched to double bass and became the principal bassist for the Lima Philharmonic and Opera Orchestras. In 2002, Roeder received a scholarship to attend the New England Conservatory of Music. After graduating with a degree in jazz performance, Roeder moved to New York, where he joined Kenny Werner's Trio. He has since recorded with Alex Acuña, Roy Haynes, and others.

Ruben Samama was born in Utrecht, Netherlands and began playing bass and writing music at the age of 12. The following year, he was admitted to the young talent department of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2007 and relocated to New York to earn his master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Samama has since performed with Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, and many others. He has also written for film and theatre.

Joe Sanders was born in Milwaukee and began playing electric bass at age 12. Sanders later switched to double bass and in high school he performed with the GRAMMY® Band, composed of the nation's top high school jazz musicians. Sanders attended The Brubeck Institute, studying with Christian McBride and other jazz masters. After performing in New York for a year, Sanders attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, studying with John Clayton and Robert Hurst and performing with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. He also toured North America and Europe with the Roy Hargrove Quintet.

Clemes van der Feen grew up in the Netherlands and began playing electric bass at age 11. He later attended the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in Germany, where he received a master's degree. Van der Feen moved to New York to study with John Patitucci and Ben Street before settling in Amsterdam. He has won several awards, including the Capberton Bass Encounter, the Best New Talent Award at the Dutch Jazz Competition, and the Ruud Jacobs Award. Van der Feen has performed with Michael Moore, Toots Thielemans, and Seamus Blake. He also performs with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and leads his own jazz group, Narcissus.

Ben Williams was born in Washington, D.C. and began playing bass at age 10. He attended the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts and the Michigan State University School of Music, where he majored in music education and studied with Rodney Whitaker. Williams has won numerous awards, including the Duke Ellington Society Annual Scholarship Award and the first place prize in the jazz category of the 2005 International Society of Bassists competition. He has performed with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, and Bobby Watson. Currently, Williams is a member of Stefon Harris' band, Blackout.


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