- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All that jazz

America’s music takes center stage at not one, but two events at the Kennedy Center over the next few days.

First up: Vocalist Roseanna Vitro (enjoying the success of her latest release, “Catching Some Rays: The Music of Ray Charles”) performs tomorrow and Saturday for the center’s KC Jazz Club series in the Terrace Gallery.

On Monday, Grammy-winning jazz great Herbie Hancock — also flying high from his own new release, “Possibilities” — joins actor Billy Dee Williams to host the 18th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and Gala Concert in the Eisenhower Theater. The competition’s semifinals will take place Sunday at the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium.

The Monk competition, compared in stature to that of the classical Tchaikovsky and Van Cliburn competitions, is widely known for discovering the jazz stars of tomorrow and has launched the careers of vocalists Jane Monheit and Tierney Sutton, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and pianists Marcus Roberts and Jacky Terrasson, to name a few.

Ten aspiring jazz guitarists will compete for $60,000 in prizes and scholarships for this year’s competition, which will honor Grammy-winning guitarist George Benson. Renowned guitarists Bill Frisell, Earl Klugh, Russell Malone, Pat Martino, and John Pizzarelli will serve as judges and also will perform at Monday’s all-star tribute to Mr. Benson. Accompanying the guitarists will be a jazz combo featuring Chris Potter on tenor saxophone, James Genus on bass, Terri Lyne Carrington on drums and Bob James on piano. Mr. James also is serving as musical director for the competition.

Walking the line

Knowing squat about country music, Johnny Cash or even how to sing actually helped actor Joaquin Phoenix settle into the role of the Man in Black.

“I didn’t know much about him, and I wasn’t a big country music fan. I listened to the Beatles and David Bowie, so I didn’t know a lot about him,” Mr. Phoenix told Reuters news agency.

He stars in the Cash biopic “Walk the Line,” which debuted at the ongoing Toronto Film Festival.

“What was nice for me was not knowing anything about music and not being a singer or player and kind of discovering what that was like instead of having a set way of doing things,” Mr. Phoenix said.

“I’m not even like a singer in the shower ,” he added. “But if I did sing, I would always try and sing high.”

Britney’s a mom

Britney Spears has given birth to a baby boy, Us Weekly reports.

The baby was born yesterday by Caesarean section at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center in California, the magazine says. No other details were available.

A call to Miss Spears’ publicist by Associated Press was not immediately returned.

It’s the first child for the 23-year-old pop star and her husband, dancer Kevin Federline. Mr. Federline, 27, has two children with his ex-girlfriend, actress Shar Jackson.

Lynda in ‘Chicago’

“Wonder Woman” star and Potomac resident Lynda Carter will join the London cast of “Chicago” Sept. 26, producers said yesterday .

Miss Carter, 54, who recently appeared in the feature films “Sky High” and “The Dukes of Hazzard,” will make her London stage debut in the role of jail matron Mama Morton, Associated Press reports.

Movin’ out

The one-time boyhood home of rock legend Jimi Hendrix has been spared demolition and moved to a new location, the head of the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation says.

The graffiti-covered two-bedroom house in one of Seattle’s traditionally black neighborhoods was the only home ever owned by the Hendrix family during Mr. Hendrix’s childhood, according to Reuters.

It was moved this week to a mobile-home park in Renton, a city just south of Seattle, and across the street from the cemetery where Mr. Hendrix is buried.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Ray Rae Goldman, head of the foundation. Mr. Hendrix’s brother, Leon Hendrix, hopes to turn the house into a small museum and educational center.

Compiled by Scott Galupo and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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