The third ever Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition was won in 1989 by a young pianist named Bill Cunliffe, a former student of Mary Lou Williams, who also happened to be Monk's teacher. In the years since, Cunliffe has carved out a remarkable career in Los Angeles, earning the right to be called one of the city's foremost authorities when it comes to jazz pianism and arranging. His brilliance has been rewarded with five Grammy nominations and one win, in 2009 for Best Instrumental Arrangement. The winning piece was an arrangement for Cunliffe's big band, which will be on display this evening along with soul singer Freda Payne, who might still have that Band of Gold.
Sat., Dec. 27, 2014
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