This weekend, Kansas City jazz musician Harold O'Neal traveled to Washington D.C. to play in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition. O'Neal is one of twelve young pianists selected from around the world to play for the judges, who include jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron and Randy Weston. The top prize is a twenty thousand dollar scholarship.
Kansas City, MO – Although the contest is limited to musicians who have not recorded their own albums on a major label, Harold O'Neal played on alto saxophonist Greg Osby's highly-acclaimed 2003 CD St. Louis Shoes. More recently, O'Neal recorded in Kansas City on saxophonist Ahmad Aladeen's CD entitled New Africa Suite.
Also competing is pianist George Dulin, who was raised in Kansas City Past winners of the Monk Competition include local vocalist Lisa Henry. As part of this week's events with the Monk Institute, Henry performed on Thursday night for President Bush at the White House.