The final of the first London International Jazz Competition was held at the Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, London SW1, on Wednesday 23rd March, 2006.
Being the first, it was restricted to vocalists only, to facilitate a slightly easier learning curve for the organisers and sponsors (as if any project of this nature can be termed 'easy'). It is hoped to expand on this in future years. Over one hundred applications were received from around the world. The quality of entrant was extremely high, but eventually 12 semi-finalists were chosen. The semi-final took place at the Vortex Jazz Club, Gillett St., London, N16., on Saturday, 18th March. From this last 12, six finalists were selected.
They were: Dan Barnett, Australian; Karlie Bruce, Australian; Mon David, Filipino; Torsten Goods, German; Heidi Martin, American; Alison Wedding, American.
Throughout the evening they were accompanied by three of the best jazz musicians in the UK, Peter Churchill (piano and MD), Jeff Clyne (bass), and Trevor Tomkins (drums). They performed over and above the call of duty adapting to the differing styles of the vocalists.
The jury, who had the very difficult task of selecting a winner, consisted of Alan Barnes (who acted as compere and is also an eloquent reedsman in his own right), Tina May (a very successful vocalist herself), Lee Gibson (professor for jazz and vocalist), Ian Shaw (the UK's top male jazz vocalist), Adam Sieff (Jazz Consultant, Sony), Peter Churchill (as described), and finally but not least, Ursula Walewski (Music Teacher and MD Mehr Clef).
Earl Orkin provided a very polished set of originals and blues in his unique vocal and guitar style, whilst the winner was being chosen.
After much deliberation they chose Mon David, who thoroughly deserved the award. His range, tone, and interpretation of the lyrics in both standards and blues, plus his communication with the audience, clinched the moment.
Mon David has his own website, and further information about the event can be obtained from the London International Jazz Competition site.
A selection of photos from the event will be appearing on my allaboutjazz gallery.
A very successful 'first' and let us trust that the event will continue to grow and prosper in future years.