Tuesday, October 28, 2008

News Update: Irabagon Wins Monk Competition

So that's the news! Jon Irabagon, the alto saxophonist of Mostly Other People Do the Killing, just won the Thelonious Monk Institute's annual competition. I'm in a state of shock- happy shock, but shock none-the-less- at this news. Walter Smith III was also a semi-finalist, and I pretty much assumed that he would win partly because of his brilliance as a horn player and seeming importance to the current crop of young musicians (I have at least one friend who calls Smith the "voice of his generation on tenor saxophone"), but mostly because of his connection to the institute as a graduate. Seriously, Ambrose Akinmusire won the Monk competition last year on trumpet, and Gretchen Parlato won the vocal competition. Granted, this fact probably reflects more on the decisions of those who run the Monk Institute than those who judge the competitions, but up until now it was two for two.

Congrats Jon Irabagon!

For those of you who don't know his playing, here's an example.

Next time I'll tear the new Downbeat apart. The time after that I'll have a review of "Petit Oiseau," the gorgeous new record from the William Parker Quartet.

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