Salvant, who was one of the crowd favorites during the Semi-finals held the day before. For her Finals performance, she sang two ballads - "If This Isn't Love" and "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone." Each contestant performed two songs of their own choosing, backed by a trio of Reggie Thomas on piano, Rodney Whitaker on bass and Carl Allen on drums.
The event at the Kennedy Center also included a Gala concert, featuring a tribute to the Great American Songbook. Each of the judges for the competition - Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves - came out to perform one standard. They were backed by a revolving cast of all-star musicans, including Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wayne Shorter, Kevin Eubanks, James Genus, Terence Blanchard and Jimmy Heath, plus a few former Monk Competition winners such as Jon Irabagon, Ben Williams and Ambrose Akinshire. Ledisi also sang one number and, in a special performance, 90-year-old Clark Terry, wheelchair-bound but plenty frisky, reprised his famous "Mumbles" song.
Gladys Knight filled in for Aretha Franklin, who was unable to attend as judge and honoree due to the condition of her son, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a beating. Knight told the audience that although she loved jazz, she couldn't scat. She then proceeded to sing a swinging version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and during George Duke's solo even threw in some wordless notes in soulful approximation of scat.
In addition, pianist Vadim Neselovskyi performed his composition "Grust," which won the BMI Composer's Competition. Neselovskyi, who was born in the Ukraine and studied at Berklee College of Music, was a member of Gary Burton's band. He won $10,000 for the composition, which means "sadness" in Russian.
The event was hosted by Herbie Hancock, T.S. Monk, Phylicia Rashad and Billy Dee Williams. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made an appearance to present the third place award.
JazzTimes' managing editor Evan Haga will be writing a more complete review of the event in our upcoming Dec. issue. For more information about the Thelonious Monk Institute and its programs, go to its web site.
Dave Koz Announces Holiday Dates
Halloween isn’t even here, but Dave Koz is already getting his Christmas spirit on. The Grammy-nominated saxophonist has announced dates for his annual holiday tour, which will kick off the day after Thanksgiving. Dave Koz and Friends, A Smooth Jazz Christmas, will include longtime favorites Jonathan Butler and Brian Culbertson. This year, Candy Dulfer comes along for the first time. This is the 13th year for Koz’ holiday tour – but to him, it never gets old. "Holiday music is like comfort food - when you hear these songs, they transport you," he says, "It's like when you smell a fresh apple pie, and it conjures up memories of your grandmother's baking and all the traditions that make this such a special time of year." Koz' new album, Hello Tomorrow, drops Oct. 12.
Dates for Dave Koz and Friends, A Smooth Jazz Christmas:11/26 Ft. Pierce, FL Sunrise Theatre
11/27 Atlanta, GA Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
11/28 Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
11/29 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Au-Rene Theater
11/30 Naples, FL Philharmonic Center for the Arts
12/1 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/3 Cleveland, OH Playhouse Square/Palace Theatre
12/4 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
12/5 Columbus, OH Palace Theatre
12/6 Bethesda, MD Strathmore Music Center
12/7 Newport News, VA Ferguson Center for the Arts
12/9 El Paso, TX Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center
12/10 San Diego, CA Balboa Theatre
12/11 San Francisco, CA Nob Hill Masonic Center
12/12 Palm Desert, CA McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts
12/14 Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
12/15 Sacramento, CA Radisson Hotel
12/16 Mesa, AZ Mesa Arts Center/Ikeda Theater
12/17 Cerritos, CA Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/18 Cerritos, CA Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/19 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
12/20 Modesto, CA Gallo Center for the Arts
Sade Opens Up About Tour
The notoriously-private Sade made headlines last week when she announced her first world tour in a decade. The singer is now giving some insights into her life offstage and decision to return to the road. In an interview with USA Today, Sade said the tour to promote her platinum-selling Soldier of Love, “just seems a natural progression. Once you put an album out, it's gone, in the ether. Being on stage makes the music tangible again." As for her personal life in rural England, where she lives with her partner Ian Watts and daughter Ila, Sade acknowledges that she values her privacy. "I've always got so much to accomplish in my personal life, and I see that as separate.” While she loves her life in the country, the singer says she’s eager to visit the different cities on the tour, which kicks off in June 2011.
Brian Culbertson On Collaboration
With his single, “That’s Life,” riding high on the charts, Brian Culbertson is discussing the art of collaboration. Guitarist Earl Klugh lends his talents to the current hit, but Culbertson has made working with other artists a habit throughout his career. He’s appeared on albums by Peter White and Dave Koz, just to name a few, and spent several weeks on the road with Barry Manilow. In addition to Klugh, Ray Parker, Jr. and Sinbad are some of the folks Culbertson brought into the studio for his current album, XII. In an interview with The Huffington Post, he says, “…I always love collaborations. To me, making music is about being in a studio with other great artists and musicians. So, I always get together to write with people and to record with people. I just love that feeling of collaboration, when everyone is in there having a great time…It's always a learning process for me. Every time I work with someone new I might learn something that I've never done before.” Culbertson’s next date is Oct. 13 in Dallas.
McCoy Tyner and More in South Orange, NJ
The schedule for JAZZ @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) 2010-2011 has just been released, and it’s studded with stellar talent. The season kicks off with two shows on November 6 by the Max Weinberg Big Band, a swinging 15-piece ensemble that harks back to the days of Basie and Rich and Krupa, not to mention Doc Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson. Stride pianist Judy Carmichael, singer Paula West, and the United States Navy Show Band Northeast round out November’s itinerary at SOPAC.
There will be two shows in December, the first by the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble on the 12th. Six days later, jazz legend McCoy Tyner (pictured above) comes to town. The Tierney Sutton Band, the Seton Hall University Jazz Ensemble, and the piano-playing husband-and-wife team of Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes will all appear in 2011.
For more information on the upcoming season, including a complete schedule and ticket information, go to www.SOPACnow.org
Talking to Ron Carter
On Monday, October 18, there are probably about 50,000 more expensive and far less interesting things you might do in New York City than heading to the CUNY Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue, where, from 7-8:15 p.m., jazz critic Gary Giddins and bass-playing jazz legend Ron Carter will engage in a one-on-one conversation. Members of the Graduate Center need pay a mere $8 for the privilege of hearing these two titans of the jazz world converse for a minimum of 75 minutes. For non-members, $12 gets you in.
Officially billed as “Jazz Legacies: A Conversation with Ron Carter,” the event is part of the Graduate Center’s Jazz Legacies series, during which Giddins speaks with jazz legends about their life and work. This year’s series begins with Carter, whose appearances on more than 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history.