Celebrating Art Blakey (Birthday Oct. 11)
“At the Kilimanjaro the tour de force was [Terence] Blanchard’s tune ‘Oh by the Way,’ the four horns opening with sweet harmonies over Blakey’s rustling, Plaxico’s now commanding bass work and [Mulgrew] Miller’s heavy Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner-like ripples on piano … In the front row, a girl in brightly-colored dress jumps up, shouts, does a little dance, walks a few feet, comes back, and sits down. By now some listeners have their eyes closed, some with heads bowed, bobbing slightly to the music, others just staring. [Donald] Harrison blows slurring riffs on alto sax, [Lonnie] Plaxico pumps out his bluesy chords on bass. The rhythms slow, grow somber, spark again and soar in different colors. Blakey pounds, slashes and bombs away…”
― Stephen A. Monroe, “Scenes of Jazz Alive, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at the Kilimanjaro, Washington, D.C.,” in “Violet Avenues,” Vol. III, 1988.
Top Pianists Compete for Monk Institute Award
Wondering who the next top-shelf pianists are? You might want to check out the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz 2017 International Piano Competition, Oct. 9 and 10, in DC as the institute celebrates Monk’s 100th birthday year.
The first-place award is $25,000 and a Concord Music Group recording contract; second place, $15,000; and third place, $10,000. Fifty percent of each prize will be paid directly to the winner, with the remaining funds applied toward the winner’s future musical education, according to institute information.
Past winners and top competitors have included Orrin Evans, organ star Joey DeFrancesco, area favorite Harry Appelman, Jacky Terrasson, Gerald Clayton, and DC’s Aaron Parks.
The semifinals, with free tickets available at the door at noon, are from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History. The finals, on Oct. 10 at the Kennedy Center, include an all-star concert, and tickets can be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office.
For more information go to www.smithsonianassociates.org and www.kennedy-center.org.
More Jamming at Montpelier
You can keep jazzing up your fall at the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel, Md., as “Live! At Montpelier Jazz” continues with Brazilian songstress Rose Moraes on Oct. 12, paying tribute to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
The next night, Oct. 13, the Bohemian Caverns All Star Band entertains with Allyn Johnson on piano, Kris Funn, bass, Quincy Phillips, drums, Donvonte McCoy, trumpet, and Tedd Baker, saxophone. On Oct. 20, Cheikh Ndoye & Friends perform, and closing out the month on Oct. 27 is a group led by pianist Bill Charlap.
October Highlights: … Thelonious Monk Centennial Celebration, Oct. 8, Kennedy Center … Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Band, Oct. 8, Blues Alley … Akua Allrich/Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba Tribute, Oct. 8, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Dizzy Gillespie Centennial Tribute, Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton …. Tedd Baker “CD Release Party,” Oct. 11, Blues Alley … Jaimeo Brown Transcendence, Oct. 12, Clarice Smith Center, University of Maryland … Twins Jazz Orchestra, Oct. 12, Twins Jazz … Jean DeVerne/Tribute to Lena Horne, Oct. 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Larry Brown Quintet, Oct. 13-14, Twins Jazz … Harry Appelman/The Rumba Club, Oct. 14, Anacostia Community Museum … Integriti Reeves, Oct. 14, The Alex/The Graham Georgetown Hotel … Michael Nirenberg, Oct. 14, Jazzway 6004/Baltimore … 4th Annual Tribute Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Oct. 14, Caton Castle/Baltimore … MBowie & The BLAST, Oct. 17, Blues Alley … Cowboys & Frenchmen, Oct. 18, Blues Alley … John Kocur, Oct. 18, Twins Jazz … Homecoming for Larry Brown, Oct. 20, Westminster … Dial 251, Oct. 20-21, Twins Jazz … Fred Hersch, Oct. 21, Atlas … Dizzy Gillespie Centennial Celebration, Oct. 21, Kennedy Center … Jazz Workshop: It’s Monk’s Time, Oct. 21, Levine School of Music/Strathmore … Allyn Johnson Ensemble, Oct. 24, University of the District of Columbia Recital Hall/Bldg. 46-West … BJ Jansen & Common Ground/Delfeayo Marsalis, Duane Eubanks, Oct. 25, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club … Sarah Wilcox, Oct. 25, Twins Jazz … Brad Linde Ensemble/10th Anniversary Concert, Oct. 26, Atlas … Jane Monheit, Oct. 26-29, Blues Alley … Tribute to the Jazz Baroness, Oct. 27, Westminster … Michael Thomas Quintet, Oct. 27-28, Twins Jazz … Thinking About Jazz/The Jazz Baroness, Oct. 28, Westminster … Paige Wroble, Oct. 28, The Alex … Jazz Lecture Duke Ellington: Genius Beyond Category, Oct. 29, Levine School of Music/Silver Spring
October Birthdays: Walter Bishop Jr. 4; Jo Jones, Larry Young 7; Pepper Adams 8; Abdullah Ibrahim, Kenny Garrett 9; Thelonius Monk 10, Junior Mance, Harry Edison, Art Blakey 11; Mel Rhyne 12; Art Tatum, Ray Brown, Von Freeman, Lee Konitz, Pharoah Sanders, Johnny Lytle 13; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti 15; Roy Hargrove 16; Cozy Cole 17; Wynton Marsalis 18; Jelly Roll Morton 20; Dizzy Gillespie, Don Bays 21; Ernie Watts 23; Jimmy Heath 25; Milton Nascimento 26; Zoot Sims 27; Clifford Brown 30; Illinois Jacquet, Booker Irvin 31
Steve Monroe is a Washington, DC, writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.