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Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition Semifinalists Announced

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has announced the semifinalists in the 21st annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 1-5 p.m. at Schoenberg Hall on the UCLA campus.

This year’s competition will feature the saxophone. Twelve of the most outstanding young saxophonists from across the globe will compete for more than $50,000 in scholarships and prizes in front of an esteemed panel of judges including Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Greg Osby, Jane Ira Bloom and David Sanchez. The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. For information, visit Monk Institute or call 310-284-8200.

The 2008 semifinalists are David DeJesus (N.Y.), Quamon Fowler (Texas), Tim Green (Md.), Alex Hoffman (N.Y.), Jon Irabagon (N.Y.), Jason Marshall (N.Y.), Troy Roberts (Australia), Joris Roelofs (native of France), Gilad Ronen (Israel), Evan Schwam (N.Y.), Walter Smith (Calif.), Gian Tornatore (N.Y.).

Three contestants will move on to the Finals of the International Jazz Competition, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Backed by an all-star house band, each finalist will perform one of his two selections accompanied by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.

The winner of the Competition will receive a $20,000 scholarship, second place a $10,000 scholarship and third place a $5,000 scholarship. For the first time, the winner will also be awarded a recording contract from Concord Music Group. The label plans to release the winner’s album in mid-2009.

Sherrise Rogers was also announced as the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Composer’s Competition winner. She will perform her winning composition, “Transitions,” and will be presented with a $10,000 grand prize for best demonstrating originality, creativity and excellence in jazz composition.

The Competition Finals will be immediately followed by a gala benefit concert honoring blues legend B.B. King featuring Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Robert Cray, George Duke, Keb’ Mo’, Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, Lee Ritenour, Poncho Sanchez, and many more in support of the Institute’s blues and jazz education programs. The 2008 Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award will be presented to a deserving person who embodies the same humanitarian qualities that Hancock displays each and every day.

Tickets for “The Blues and Jazz: Two American Classics” gala concert and the International Jazz Saxophone Competition can be purchased online at Ticketmaster, by calling 213-480-3232 or by visiting the Kodak Theatre box office. The concert is being presented by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in association with The Recording Academy® Los Angeles Chapter.

Originally Published