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Finalists for Monk Competition Announced

Charenée Wade, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Cyrille Aimée advance to Finals at Kennedy Center

From left: 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition finalists are: Charenée Wade, Brooklyn, New York; Cyrille Aimée, Fontainebleau, France; and Cécile McLorin Salvant, Miami, Florida.
Twelve of the world’s most outstanding young jazz vocalists at the Jazz Vocals Competition Semifinals, held on Sunday, October 3, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, T.S. Monk and Institute

At the semi-finals of the Monk competition held at the Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in Washington, CD, three young vocalists advanced to the Finals of the Competition, sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Charenée Wade, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Cyrille Aimée were chosen out of a field of 12 vocalists by judges Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves. Aretha Franklin was unable to attend as originally scheduled because of personal issues with her family. She will be replaced as a judge at the Finals by Gladys Knight.

Each contestant performed three songs (with the set not lasting any longer than 15 minutes) with a trio of Reggie Thomas on piano, Rodney Whitaker on bass and Carl Allen on drums. The auditorium at the Museum was packed and in the audience were Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter who arrived after intermission after flying in from St. Louis where they had performed with a symphony. Also in the audience were several former winners of the Competition, including Ben Williams, Ambrose Akinshire and Gretchen Parlato. Monk’s son T.S Monk and movie star Billy Dee Williams co-hosted, which basically consisted of announcing each vocalist and keeping things moving. As it was, the program went a total of about 4 hours. It is a compliment to the performers that the day went fast and there were no empty seats from beginning to end.

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