Thelonious Monk Competition

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Thelonious Monk Competition 2012 Winners of the Thelonious Monk Competition Announced By NATE CHINEN WASHINGTON –Jamison Ross took first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition, awarded at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night. Mr. Ross, 24, from Jacksonville, Fla., brought a relaxed but commanding sense of swing to his performance with a competition house band, consisting of the saxophonist Jon Gordon, the pianist Geoffrey Keezer and the bassist Rodney Whitaker. His victory reinforces perceptions of the Monk Competition as a proving ground for artists already active professionally. He can be heard on tour with the jazz singer Carmen Lundy, and he works regularly with the saxophonist Wess Anderson. This year’s other two finalists came with their own notable credentials. Justin Brown, 28, originally from Richmond, Calif., is a member of acclaimed groups led by the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and the pianist Gerald Clayton, who have been finalists in previous Monk Competitions. Colin Stranahan, 26, originally from Denver, Colo., has likewise become an active part of the New York jazz scene. (He’ll be at the Village Vanguard this week, starting Tuesday, with Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Standards Trio.) As the winner of this year’s competition, Mr. Ross will receive a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group. Second place went to Mr. Brown, and third place to Mr. Stranahan. The panel of judges, representing several generations of elite jazz drummers, included Jimmy Cobb, Ben Riley, Peter Erskine, Carl Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Brian Blade. The competition coincided with a gala, “Women, Music and Diplomacy,” organized in honor of Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. Secretary State. Performers on the gala included Aretha Franklin, who dedicated her performance of “Respect” to Madame Albright,

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