Vocalist Gretchen Parlato Wins Monk Competition

Classic Arts News   Vocalist Gretchen Parlato Wins Monk Competition
Gretchen Parlato won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition in Washington, D.C., yesterday. She receives a $20,000 scholarship.

Second place, worth $10,000, went to Kellylee Evans; Robin McKelle won third place $5,000; Charanee Wade took home $2,500 for fourth place.

The prestigious competition has previously helped to boost the careers of pianist Marcus Roberts, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and vocalist Jane Monheit, among others. Created by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, an 18-year-old educational organization named for the legendary pianist and composer, it focuses on a different instrument each year.

Among the judges for this year's competition were vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau, and Jimmy Scott. Drummer Carl Allen, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, and pianist George Duke accompanied the finalists in a performance at the Kennedy Center.

Parlato studied at UCLA, where she worked with Herbie Hancock, and at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance. As a member of the Monk Institute ensemble, she performed with Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard; recently she has appeared in small groups with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts" and bassist Essiet Essiet.

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