The finalists for this contest have a challenge possibly unique in music (someone tell me otherwise?) : they all appear together…collaboratively, supportively…. but they are also simultaneously trying to catch the audience’s eye or ear. Each musician has to function as just one of the band- they’ll also be supporting Tina May– and observe all the bandstand etiquette of jazz……and yet, if he or she wants the spoils of victory…. there is an obligation to leave the others for dust.
As one of this country’s great jazz educators has just explained a lot more succinctly: “They’re all up for a Man of the Match Award.” The award is substantial, a well-paid winner’s gig with the band of their choice, and professional audio or video recording/editing of that gig.
I’ve been to it once, and it’s a compelling spectacle.
This year’s competitors are
Henry Armburg-Jennings Trumpet
George Crowley Saxophone
Peter Edwards Piano (photo above by Helena Dornellas)
Shane Forbes Drums
Alam Nathoo Saxophone
Percy Pursglove Bass
The impressive list of past winners is HERE.