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Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon

In the classical world, the growing circuit of competitions is an accepted part of the machinery for young musicians trying to start a career. Jazz has different systems and proving grounds, but there are exceptions-chiefly, the annual Thelonious Monk Institute competition. The striking alto saxist Jon Gordon won in 1996, the 10th anniversary of the organization and a televised event.

Gordon, remembers both the pleasant shock and the ambivalent feelings upon accepting the award at the Kennedy Center. “When I accepted the award, I got a chance to speak and I said `You know, we all know music is not about competition, but if this gives the music some more exposure to the general public, then great.'”

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