A highlight of last Sunday’s 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition was pianist Herbie Hancock kicking it with Pharrell Williams, the massively popular young r&b vocalist and music producer.
The duo reworked Williams’ percolating hit song “Happy” as a jazz arrangement.
Williams won my approval with his cool fashion, his trademark chapeau by model-turned-hat-designer Nick Fouquet.
[Vivienne Westwood, as well, has designed hats for the 40-year-old music talent.]
Williams also scored points by physically bowing down to the jazz giants — one-by-one to his back-up band, who appeared with him on stage. Respect!
The evening’s special event was the bestowing of the Institute’s Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to former Saxophonist-in-Chief, Bill Clinton.
The fulsome evening culminated with a hard-won trumpet award for competitor Marquis Hill, of Chicago, Illinois. The celebratory concert accompanying the trumpet competition featured a wicked-good roster of a who-is-who of contemporary jazz: John Mayer, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wayne Shorter, Queen Latifah, Jimmy Heath, Chaka Khan, Taj Mahal, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Kenny Burrell, Stefon Harris, T.S. Monk, Joshua Redman, Jon Faddis, Billy Childs, all sharing one stage with extremely good will.
photo credit: Steve Mundinger/Thelonious Monk Institute Of Jazz