Monk Saxophone Competition and Gala Concert This Weekend

Wayne Shorter to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

George Duke at Freihofer Jazz Festival at Saratoga Springs image 0
Ben Johnson

George Duke at Freihofer Jazz Festival at Saratoga Springs

The 26th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition (presented by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz) will take place this weekend, September 15-16. This year’s competition will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to saxophonist Wayne Shorter as well as paying tribute to the late George Duke.

The Semifinals of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition will be held on Sunday, September 15, from l:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Smithsonian Institution’s Baird Auditorium inside the National Museum of American History. The semifinalists will compete before an all-star panel of judges including jazz saxophonists Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson. Each semifinalist will perform for 15 minutes, accompanied by Rodney Whitaker on bass, Reginald Thomas on piano and Carl Allen on drums, and from this group the judges will select three finalists who will perform in the final round at the Kennedy Center on Monday evening, September 16. Over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded, including a $25,000 first place scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Music Group; a $15,000 second place scholarship; and a $10,000 third place scholarship.

Following the three finalists’ performances at the Competition Finals, an All-Star Gala Concert at the Kennedy Center will feature John Beasley (Musical Director), Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, Vinnie Colaiuta, Robben Ford, Kurt Elling, James Genus, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Heath, Ledesi, Branford Marsalis, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, John Patitucci, Danilo Pérez, Take 6 and others. Also performing in the festivities will be the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance college students along with the 2013 edition of the Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School All-Star Jazz Sextet.

The semifinals will be streamed online at Monk Institute and The Competition finals will be taped as a documentary for BET/Centric television. The documentary will include performance clips and interviews with the semifinalists and judges.