Stumbled upon this today: a recent audition requirement list for the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute (only listing piano here). Not that I have any interest in pursuing this, but it’s still intriguing to see what they expect of candidates. This list shows just how high the bar has risen in recent years. Nonetheless, it might be fun to put together one such recording just for the challenge of it. A measure of your mettle, as it were.
1. To demonstrate your rhythmic precision and technical facility, play the unaccompanied melodies of “Donna Lee” (Charlie Parker) at a medium up- tempo, quarter note = ca. 216, and “Four In One” (Thelonious Monk) at a medium tempo, quarter note = ca. 132.
2. A ballad performance of “Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk): two solo choruses maximum; no double time.
3. A medium tempo blues composition of your choice, quarter note = ca. 144; four solo choruses maximum.
4. A quartet performance of “E.S.P.” (Wayne Shorter) or “Countdown” (John Coltrane), quarter note = ca. 240 or “Sorcerer” (Herbie Hancock), quarter note = ca. 180; two solo choruses maximum.
5. A quartet or trio performance of an original composition or jazz standard of your choice played in a medium tempo either straight eighths feel, bossa nova, or Afro-Cuban rhythm.
6. A quartet or trio performance of an original composition or jazz standard of your choice performed in an odd time signature, tempo of your choice.
7. A quartet or trio performance of an original composition or a jazz standard in a swing feel at a tempo of your choice, or a composition from the “classical” repertoire for your instrument.
8. Play a transcription of any Fats Waller or Jelly Roll Morton piano solo.