Gerry’s Jazz Challenge 2022

February 28, 2022

The Gerry & Franca Mulligan Foundation is inviting high school music students to compete in this year’s Gerry’s Jazz Challenge by uploading a video of them playing one of Gerry Mulligan’s most famous compositions, “Rocker”, in honor of the 65th anniversary of Miles Davis’ 1957 Capitol Records Birth of the Cool recording. Mulligan composed and/or arranged six of the album’s 12 tracks. In addition to lead sheets for students, there will also be charts available for teachers for every instrument at no charge. Deadline for entries is April 30.

While Gerry Mulligan popularized the baritone saxophone as a solo instrument, students may submit their “Rocker” performances on the instrument of their choice. Lead sheets are available at, and free charts will be available to teachers for every instrument. An educational video for teachers is also available. Saxophonist Ted Hogarth, a jazz educator who leads master classes at various schools and universities in the Chicago metropolitan area, has prepared charts for “Rocker” and said the melody and chords are provided so high school musicians can learn the melody and perform the song regardless of what instrument they play.

Alto saxophonist Alexa Tarantino, featured on the cover of the March 2022 Jersey Jazz Magazine, is a former winner of Gerry’s Challenge. Having free access to Mulligan’s music, she said, “is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity.” The 2021 Gerry’s Challenge winner, baritone saxophonist Tate Hanlon, was featured as the Rising Star in the September 2021 issue of Jersey Jazz.

Students must upload their recorded video on YouTube and share the link in their entry form at Rules, a five-minute educational video on Gerry Mulligan, lead sheets, and big band charts will also be available on the website.

The best performance on a saxophone will be awarded the Grand Prize of a Selmer saxophone. Two first place winners, on any instrument, will each receive $500; two second place winners will receive $250 each; and five honorable mentions will receive $100 each. Entries must be received by April 30, 2021. The contest judging will begin on May 1 and will end on or about May 10. The winners will be announced on or about May 15.

The Gerry & Franca Mulligan Foundation provides music education to young musicians, donates musical instruments to inner city schools, and perpetuates the memory of Gerry Mulligan by providing free unlimited access to the Gerry Mulligan Music Library to composers and arrangers. For more information, contract Mia Toschi at or 203 524-2422.


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