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Bill Charlap & Gary Hobbs at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Monk Competition winner Lage Lund with George Benson

Norwegian guitarist Lage Lund, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, has won the 19th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Lage’s artful arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” and his darting, articulate lines on Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio” made an impression on this year’s judges: Pat Martino, Bill Frisell, Russell Malone, Earl Klugh, Stanley Jordan and John Pizzarelli. For his first place finish, Lund won a $20,000 scholarship and an engagement at the Kennedy Center for next season. The second place prize of $10,000 went to Miles Okazaki, with New Orleans guitarist David Mooney taking home the $5,000 third place scholarship.

Each of the three finalists performed two numbers backed by an all-star group with pianist Bob James, bassist James Genus, drummer Teri Lynn Carrington and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. Okazaki was especially strong in his burning call-and-response exchanges with Potter, and many in the audience were surprised he didn’t win.

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