Let’s get this out of the way first: I don't think T.S. Monk could have won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition, which I covered here. But I think he’d be the first to make that disclaimer. (Well, one of the first.)
Monk fils, who served as an emergency feed of personal history and family lore during the logistically complex semifinals on Saturday — you’ll be grateful to learn that his father gulped Pepsi, smoked Camels and pinched pennies — gave the first performance at the finals on Sunday. His unaccompanied solo, played on an electronic drum kit, was OK, and, under the circumstances, the essence of chutzpah. But then this is a guy who had no qualms about starting an invocation, on both days, with “Let’s get ready to Drumble!”
The drumble, as it were, came late in the game, well after the competition had been settled. As I observed in the paper, it involved a round robin of every member of the judges’ panel, along with Tipper Gore — and most importantly, Jamison Ross, whose strong, untroubled swing feel helped put him in the winner’s circle.