Scofield, Nash, Collier Win Big at Grammys

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John Scofield won two Grammy awards on Feb. 12.

(Photo: Philippe Lévy-Stab)

Guitarist John Scofield, reedist/bandleader Ted Nash and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jacob Collier are among the artists who took home multiple honors at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, presented in Los Angeles on Feb. 12.

Scofield’s album Country For Old Men (Impulse!) was honored in the category Best Jazz Instrumental Album. A track from the album—a rendition of Hank Williams’ 1949 country classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”—earned Scofield another Grammy in the category Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

Nash won the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album award for Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom (Motéma), recorded by the Ted Nash Big Band. Nash also won the Best Instrumental Composition award for “Spoken At Midnight,” a track on Presidential Suite.

Nash’s eight-movement suite is an ambitious, spoken-word and music project featuring political speech excerpts by John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. The speech excerpts are read by key political and arts figures (Glenn Close, Deepak Chopra, Joe Lieberman, Sam Waterston, historian Douglas Brinkley, David Miliband, William vanden Heuvel and Andrew Young) and transformed into music by Nash and big band.

“I am so honored to be recognized by the Academy and by my friends and peers in the music industry,” Nash said in a statement released by Motéma. “I am blessed to be a musician and have the opportunity to use my art as an expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Presidential Suite is about human rights and freedom around the world. Now, more than ever, this is extremely relevant and I hope that people continue to find inspiration in the great speeches that inspired this music.”

Collier, at the age of 22, has become a two-time Grammy winner for tracks on his album In My Room (Membran). He won in the category Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, for a version of the Stevie Wonder song “You And I.” Collier also won in the category Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals” for the track “Flinstones,” his rendition of the theme song to the animated TV show The Flintsones.

Singer Gregory Porter won the Best Jazz Vocal Album award for Take Me To The Alley (Blue Note).

The night’s biggest winner was pop superstar Adele, who won in five categories, including Record of the Year, for her global hit “Hello” (produced by Greg Kurstin); and Album of the Year, for her disc 25 (XL/Columbia). The team of producers who worked on Adele’s chart-topping album includes Kurstin, Danger Mouse, Samuel Dixon, Paul Epworth, Max Martin, Ariel Rechtshaid, Shellback, The Smeezingtons and Ryan Tedder.

The late David Bowie won both the Best Rock Performance award and the Best Rock Song award (a composer’s honor) for the title track to Blackstar (ISO/Columbia). Bowie’s album won in the categories Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package (an honor for art director Jonathan Barnbrook) and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (an honor for engineers Tom Elmhirst, Kevin Killen and Tony Visconti; and mastering engineer Joe LaPorta).

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin’s quartet collaborated closely with Bowie on Blackstar, which was released just days before the rock singer died on Jan. 10, 2016. McCaslin attended the Grammy ceremony and tweeted, “So honored to be here and am thrilled that @DavidBowieReal won multiple awards!”

Pianist Chucho Valdés won the Best Latin Jazz Album award for Tribute To Irakere: Live In Marciac (Jazz Village). As a member of Irakere, Valdés won a Grammy in the category Best Latin Recording for the band’s 1979 self-titled album.

Snarky Puppy won in the category Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for its disc Culcha Vulcha (GroundUp Music).

Bobby Rush won the Best Traditional Blues Album award for Porcupine Meat (Rounder), while the Best Contemporary Blues Album honor went to Fantastic Negrito, for The Last Days Of Oakland (Believe Global/Blackball Universe).

Keyboardist Robert Glasper’s extensive work on the film Miles Ahead was recognized with a Grammy win in the category Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the album Miles Ahead (Columbia/Legacy), which is officially credited to Miles Davis & Various Artists. The compilation album was produced by Glasper, Steve Berkowitz and actor/director Don Cheadle. This was the third posthumous Grammy win for Davis (1926–’91), who also won for 1992’s Doo-Bop and 1993’s Miles And Quincy Live At Montreux.

The award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media went to composer John Williams for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney Records).

Willie Nelson won the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album award for his exploration of the Great American Songbook on Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (Legacy).

Soul singer William Bell won the Best Americana Album award for This Is Where I Live (Stax), his first major album in nearly 40 years.

Chicago-based hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper had a huge night, performing on the telecast and taking home three Grammy awards, including Best New Artist. He made history by winning the Best Rap Album category for Coloring Book, marking the first time the accolade had gone to a streamed-only album.

Singer Lalah Hathaway won the Best R&B Album award for Lalah Hathaway Live (Hathaway Entertainment/Entertainment One), and a track from the disc, “Angel,” was honored for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

The Best Album Notes award went to writers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin, for their work on Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s Sissle And Blake Shuffle Along (Harbinger/The Musical Theater Project).

The vast majority of the winners in the Grammys’ 84 categories are announced in the afternoon, prior to the evening’s live broadcast from the Staples Center.

The live telecast was highlighted by numerous onstage collaborations. Bell teamed up with blues singer-guitarist Gary Clark Jr. for a moving rendition of “Born Under A Bad Sign,” a classic that Bell co-wrote with fellow Memphis icon Booker T. Jones. Bell included a version of the song on This Is Where I Live.

Rising country star Maren Morris—who won a Best Country Solo Performance award for her single “My Church”—teamed with r&b superstar Alicia Keys at the Staples Center for a powerhouse version of Morris’ song “Once.”

Singer Lady Gaga joined rock band Metallica for a pyrotechnic-infused version of “Moth Into The Flame,” a track from the band’s Hardwired … To Self-Destruct (Blackened), but the performance was marred by a technical glitch. Singer-guitarist James Hetfield’s vocal mic wasn’t working, so TV viewers couldn’t hear his singing during the first part of the song.

The producers of the telecast hustled to insert a brief, non-musical tribute to jazz singer and seven-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau (1940–2017), who had passed away earlier in the day.

The Recording Academy also honored six artists and one band with a Lifetime Achievement Award: jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, jazz-soul singer-pianist Nina Simone, gospel singer Shirley Caesar, country icon Jimmie Rodgers, country star Charley Pride, funk-rock bandleader Sylvester “Sly” Stone and rock group the Velvet Underground.

Keith Hancock of Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, was named the recipient of the 2017 Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. Hancock has taught choral music for 15 years at Tesoro, and he oversees the school’s music production/audio engineering program. (To read a story about Hancock, click here.)

For a complete list of winners, visit the Grammy website. DB



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