UNO Jazz Studies Student Named a Semifinalist in World-Renowned Jazz Competition

The New York Times heralded a University of New Orleans graduate student of jazz studies yesterday when the student was named a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

Drummer Jamison Ross, 24, is one of 12 semifinalists who will compete next month in The 25th Annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition presented by the world-renowned Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. This year’s competition is focused on drums and composers.

Semi-final rounds of the international competition, which is open to musicians under age 30 from around the world, begin Sept 22 at the Baird Auditorium of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  Three finalists selected during the Saturday competition will advance to perform in a final round and evening performance on Sunday, Sept. 23 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, also in Washington.

Ross will compete for more than $100,000 in available scholarships and prizes, including: a $25,000 first place scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group; a $15,000 second place scholarship; and a $10,000 third place scholarship.

As a semifinalist, Ross will enjoy a star-studded gala entitled “Women, Music and Diplomacy. The event honors former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO.

Judges for the elite competition include an “all-star” panel of drummers, including Carl Allen, Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Roy Haynes, and Ben Riley, according to a statement from the Thelonious Monk Institute.

The gala’s musical director is George Duke, according to the Institute. Gala cast includes Geri Allen, Patti Austin, Jane Ira Bloom, James Carter, Vinnie Colaiuta, Claire Daly, Akua Dixon, Nnenna Freelon, James Genus, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Ingrid Jensen, Linda Oh, Lee Ritenour, Ada Rovatti and Wayne Shorter, along with special guests Aretha Franklin and Chris Botti.

Ross, who was born in Jacksonville, Fla., began playing drums at age 4. He attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he won the Florida All-State Jazz Band Drummer Award four consecutive years. He has also achieved a variety of other musical honors.

Before pursuing graduate studies at UNO, Ross received a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music from Florida State University. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, George Clinton and P-Funk among others.

Ross is a member of the Wes Anderson Quartet and Carmen Lundy’s band.