Daversa, Blanchard, Salvant Win Grammys


John Daversa accepts a Grammy for his arrangement of “Stars And Stripes Forever” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.

(Photo: Recording Academy via YouTube)

The Recording Academy handed out Grammy awards in 84 categories on Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but only a handful of those golden statuettes were presented during the live TV broadcast. For the vast majority of Grammy winners, the excitement of being honored occurred on Sunday afternoon.

Trumpeter, bandleader and jazz educator John Daversa’s album American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom went three-for-three on Sunday. It received three nominations and won in each of those categories. The album, credited to the John Daversa Big Band (Featuring DACA Artists), was recorded with 53 young musicians (hailing from 17 nations) who settled in the United States through the Deferred Action for Childhood Early Arrivals policy.

American Dreamers, released by BFM Jazz, was awarded the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. In the category Best Improvised Jazz Solo, Daversa won for his solo on the American Dreamers track “Don’t Fence Me In.” Additionally, in the category Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, Davera won for his arrangement of “Stars And Stripes Forever.”

When he accepted the award for “Stars And Stripes Forever,” Daversa said, “I’m a great-grandson of Italian immigrants, so this is a very personal project for me. … Our project is all about … coming together as Americans through music.”

The winner for Best Jazz Instrumental album was Emanon, by saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s namesake quartet.

Singer and composer Cécile McLorin Salvant—who topped the category Female Vocalist in the 2018 DownBeat Critics Poll—was named the winner in the category Best Jazz Vocal Album, for her disc The Window.

The Dafnis Prieto Big Band’s Back To The Sunset was awarded the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s album Anniversary won in the category Best Tropical Latin Album.

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard won in the category Best Instrumental Composition for “Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil).” The song appears on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Oscar-nominated film BlackkKlansman.

Jazz drummer Steve Gadd won in the category Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his disc Steve Gadd Band.

Blues icon Buddy Guy topped the category Best Traditional Blues Album with his aptly titled The Blues Is Alive And Well. Wearing a black bow-tie on the red carpet, Guy talked about how he views industry awards: “I’m accepting these things because some of the people didn’t get them years ago, especially black people. Every time I accept an award, I accept it in their honor—you know, the late Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Arthur Crudup … . They’re still in my heart. Every time I look up, it looks like they’re looking down at me.”

The winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album was Fantastic Negrito’s Please Don’t Be Dead.

Country-music icon Willie Nelson—who has sung many a jazz standard during his long career—was awarded a Grammy in the category Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his album My Way, a tribute to Frank Sinatra. (Nelson edged out tough competition from the duo of Tony Bennett and Diana Krall for their collaborative album, Love Is Here To Stay, and Gregory Porter for his tribute to one of his heroes, Nat “King” Cole And Me.)

Mark Kibble, Randy Waldman and Justin Wilson won in the category Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for their arrangement of “Spiderman Theme,” performed by Waldman with vocal group Take 6 and jazz saxophonist Chris Potter. The track appears on Waldman’s album Super Heroes.

The album Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented by William Ferris was honored in two categories: Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes.

The documentary Quincy, about Quincy Jones, won in the category Best Music Film. The honorees were Alan Hicks and Rashida Jones (directors) and Paula DuPré Presmen (producer).

The winner in the category Best Children’s album was Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats for their album All The Sounds.

Dr. Jeffery Redding of West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida, was the recipient of the 2019 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum.

For a complete list of winners, visit the Recording Academy’s Grammy website. DB

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