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20th Annual Thelonious Monk Competition: In Walked Brass

Herbie Hancock honored by fellow icons
2007 Thelonious Monk Trumpet Competition winner Ambrose Akinmusire with Al Jarreau
Sting with Herbie Hancock at the 2007 Thelonious Monk Competition
2007 Thelonious Monk Competition winner Ambrose Akinmusire

The least-known persons on the stage on Oct. 29 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood were a trio of young trumpet players: Jean Gaze from Haiti, Ambrose Akinmusire from Oakland and Michael Rodriguez from New York City. Surrounding them on the program was an instantly recognizable array of glittering music world figures reaching from Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones and Nancy Wilson to Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell and Sting.

The three trumpeters were there, of course, as the finalists in the 20th annual Thelonious Monk Competition. The stars were there to raise money for more competitions. Call it a success on both endeavors. If the Monk Institute folks know anything, it’s how to have a competition and raise money.

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