Jahari Stampley of Chicago, Illinois Wins First Place in 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition

Special Tributes to Honorees Dianne Reeves & Frank Gehry with Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, Somi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ambrose Akinmusire, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lizz Wright, Many More

New York, NY – The 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition and All-Star Gala Concert came to an exciting conclusion following the announcement of Jahari Stampley, age 24, of Chicago, Illinois as first place winner of the Competition.

Presented by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, the world’s preeminent jazz education organization, in association with the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC), the Competition awarded major scholarships and prizes including a $50,000 first place award. World-renowned pianists Bill Charlap, Orrin Evans, Herbie Hancock, Hiromi and Danilo Pérez served as the Competition judges.

The October 15th event at PAC NYC on the historic World Trade Center campus featured a star-studded Gala Concert. The Institute presented its Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to five-time GRAMMY-winning jazz vocalist and educator Dianne Reeves, who has played a vital role in the Institute’s mission for nearly three decades. Visionary architect Frank Gehry was honored with the Institute’s Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award for his commitment to arts education, notably jazz and classical music training for young people. The evening featured stellar performances by a diverse group of all-stars including Musical Director John Beasley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lizz Wright, Anat Cohen, Romero Lubambo, Jean Baylor, Joe Lovano, Hélène Mercier, Somi, Ambrose Akinmusire and Ben Williams.

First place winner Jahari Stampley captivated the audience with his performances of  “Prelude Entrance” and “After The Morning.”  Second place winner Connor Rohrer,  Age 23,  of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania performed “Someplace Called Where” and “Matrix,” and third place winner Paul Cornish, Age 26, of Houston, Texas performed “Intrepid Fox” and “Come Sunday.”   They were among the 11 outstanding, young pianists from around the world who competed a day earlier in the Competition Semifinals at PAC NYC. Bassist Richie Goods and drummer Carl Allen accompanied each competitor.

The Gala opened with multi-GRAMMY and Tony Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater performing Chick Corea’s “Spain” with an all-star ensemble. Later in the evening, the Institute shined a spotlight on some of the top young jazz musicians across the country. The Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer High School All-Star Jazz Sextet performed Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” alongside vocalist and former Institute Competition winner Lisa Henry. Among the nation’s most accomplished young jazz musicians, these students train with Institute teaching artists at public performing arts high schools nationwide. U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, who hosts an Institute Peer-to-Peer performance at the Department of Education each year, made remarks about the importance of music education in the schools.

The evening also showcased the Herbie Hancock Institute Ensemble performing Herbie Hancock’s “Actual Proof.” These gifted musicians from around the world receive full scholarships to attend the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance, the Institute’s prestigious master’s degree program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in Los Angeles. The students, who represent the next generation of jazz artists, study for two years with world-renowned jazz musicians, composers and educators.

Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding honored Frank Gehry with the Institute’s Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award. She highlighted his renowned architectural achievements and his devotion to helping others – from volunteering in public schools and supporting the Turnaround Arts initiative for at-risk youth to serving on the Institute’s Board of Trustees and taking an active role in its jazz education programs. Piano virtuoso Hélène Mercier of Paris and piano prodigy A Bu of Beijing performed a stunning rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” fusing jazz and classical influences. Herbie Hancock, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joe Lovano, Ben Williams and Terri Lyne Carrington then performed “Speak No Evil” by the late Wayne Shorter, Gehry’s close friend and creative collaborator.

To honor Dianne Reeves, acclaimed actor Delroy Lindo shared the story of how Reeves found her passion early on through music, as a member of her high school big band. She went on to tour with Sergio Mendes and Harry Belafonte, release a series of chart-topping albums, earn five GRAMMY Awards and make a profound impact on jazz and her millions of fans. The evening’s special guests, including vocalists Somi, Jean Baylor, Michael Mayo and Lizz Wright, paid tribute to Reeves by performing three of her songs: the powerful, percussive “Endangered Species,” the gorgeous ballad “Bridges,” and the gospel-tinged “Today Will Be a Good Day.” After accepting the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award from Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, Reeves graced the stage with a riveting performance of “You Taught My Heart to Sing.”

Proceeds from the All-Star Gala Concert will support the Institute’s public school education programs in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and many other cities across the nation. All of the Institute’s education programs are provided free of charge, with an emphasis on serving economically disadvantaged public school students and their teachers and parents.

Air transportation was provided by United Airlines, Official Airline of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.