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KC jazz trumpeter Hermon Mehari to compete in international Thelonious Monk competition

The Loins of Jazz performed recently at The Ship with Hermon Mehari on trumpet and Steve Lambert on sax.
The Loins of Jazz performed recently at The Ship with Hermon Mehari on trumpet and Steve Lambert on sax. Special to the Star

Kansas City jazz trumpeter Hermon Mehari is one of 13 semifinalists in the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, to be held Nov. 8-9 in Los Angeles.

The Monk competition is restricted to persons younger than 30, and the instrument is different every year.

“The last time they did trumpet was 2007, I believe,” Mehari said. “So it’s really competitive in that regard.”

Mehari entered the competition in September.

“The entry round was done via mailed-in applications and CDs,” he said. “The CDs had to be five songs of our choice within the general guidelines they provided — one uptempo, one blues, one modern. The deadline for that was the beginning of September.”

He found out last week that he had made the semifinals, but Mehari had to keep it hush until Thursday, when the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz officially announced the list of names.

On Nov. 8, Mehari and the other semifinalists will perform for 15 minutes before a panel of judges to include Randy Brecker, Roy Hargrove, Quincy Jones and Arturo Sandoval. The competition will take place on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“They will tell me what we can perform at semifinals by the end of this week,” Mehari said.

Contestants will compete for more than $100,000 in prizes, including a $25,000 first-place scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group.

On KansasCity.com

For reviews of performances this week by Yo-Yo Ma, David Gray, Devil Makes Three and Los Lobos, go to the Entertainment page of KansasCity.com. Also check our music blog, Back to Rockville, for more reviews, ticket alerts, band interviews and more.

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