The first Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition will take place in mid-November at the Smithsonian's Baird Auditorium. The $18,000 in prize money, including a $10,000 first prize, makes this the largest such competition ever in the jazz world, but Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner and other veterans need not apply. The competition is open only to aspiring pianists who plan to pursue jazz as a career; half the prize money will go directly for piano studies and the rest must be applied to music study expenses or career promotion.
Participants will have to play from memory two of four Monk compositions as called by the judges (if you want to start practicing, the tunes are " 'Round Midnight," "Ruby My Dear," "In Walked Bud" and "Evidence") as well as a third standard of their own choice. Preliminaries will be held during the day on Nov. 18 and 19, with the finals the evening of the 19th before judges (and pianists) Roland Hanna, Barry Harris, Hank Jones and Roger Kellaway. The competition is a joint project of the Beethoven Society, the Thelonious Sphere Monk Foundation and the Smithsonian's Resident Associate Program and is the first program of the Thelonious Monk Center for Jazz Studies. A location for the center may be announced before the end of the year.
'Bad' From Michael Jackson The details of Michael Jackson's new album: it's called "Bad," and the simultaneous release (worldwide and all-configuration) is set for Aug. 31. "Bad" contains 10 songs, eight of them written by Jackson. The first single, which radio will receive July 22, is called "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," and features a Jackson duet with a little known studio singer, Siedah Garrett (she's also on Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further"). Jackson's only other duet is with his old pal Stevie Wonder on a song called "Just Good Friends." Reports of celebrity collaborations with Run-DMC, Barbra Streisand and George Michael were, a publicist points out, "media rumors."
Side 1 contains "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Speed Demon," "Liberian Girl" and "Just Good Friends" by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle (who've done a number of Tina Turner hits, including "What's Love Got to Do With It"). The other side includes "Another Part of Me" (from Jackson's "Captain EO" film), "Man in the Mirror" (written by Garrett and Glenn Ballard), "Loving You," "Dirty Diana" and "Smooth Criminal." Like its predecessors "Off the Wall" and "Thriller," "Bad" was produced by Quincy Jones and digitally recorded and mixed by Bruce Swedien. Also featured are gospel singers the Winans and Sandra and Andrae Crouch.
And Bad From the Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys' bad reputation apparently preceded them to New Orleans, where City Councilwoman Dorothy Taylor was so apprehensive about a July 26 concert that she asked city attorneys to look into establishing ordinances to exclude minors from certain shows and set up a concert rating similar to that used in the film industry.
"I've asked them to investigate whether we have the authorization to rate our live entertainment concerts, not only rock, but all of our concerts," Taylor said. "It has been called to my attention that some of the performers at these concerts are violating our state obscenity statutes as they relate to minors. I feel it's our responsibility to provide the necessary protection for those minors. We're also looking at the curfew laws, though we have been told they are virtually unenforceable."
After a meeting with the concert's promoters and Beastie management, Taylor and the city's superintendent of police, Warren Woodfork, were assured the show would be "cleaned up," and Taylor agreed to hold the proposed ordinances in abeyance. However, any "overt violations will result in arrests." Taylor says she was concerned because reports had the audience's age as being primarily 9 to 16, "with females at one point in the show encouraged to take off their tops. There's also simulated masturbation, and female singers in cages." Taylor says she has the support of the city council for two ordinances. The first would require state finance officers to make promoters aware of state obscenity laws; the second would "protect young persons, unmarried and under 17, from live pornographic entertainment events."
And in Grenada, Calypso Problems A more dramatic censorship situation has arisen in Grenada, where the thriving calypso industry is now subject to new government regulations establishing a committee to approve calypsos before they are aired on the island's only radio station -- which is owned by the government.
According to England's New Musical Express, not only is the commission insisting that calypsos not be vulgar, libelous or immoral, but that they not be political, particularly during the August carnival season; the regulations say "calypsos should be free from politically sensitive matters that cannot be substantiated." A government official told New Musical Express, "If calypsonians are going to incite people with songs, any responsible government has a right to ban calypsos. It might be disruptive. Grenada has been been through a lot in the last five or six years, and we want to keep things as quiet as they've been lately."