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 (pictured), 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 how to raise money.